Skip to main content

Full text of "The submarine in war and peace; its developments and its possibilities"

See other formats







Date Due 



W fi Q 186 ^00' Mm— i^eerMY 



; <rrfMr 




NO. 23233 

Cornell University Library 
VM365 .L19 

The submarine in war and peace 


3 1924 030 902 328 

Cornell University 

The original of this book is in 
the Cornell University Library. 

There are no known copyright restrictions in 
the United States on the use of the text. 

















An honest and patriotic man, who took up a poor young 
man, and who, through his thorough grasp of things me- 
chanical, was among the first to see practical possibilities 
in the dreams of a young inventor. With his financial 
means he was able to assist materially in the development 
and perfection of an important weapon for the defence of 
his country, thus rendering a valuable service to the nation. 

Without his assistance much of the development work 
described in this volume would have been impossible of 

No greater tribute can be paid to him than to remark 
of him that he is one — and there are but few of whom 
this may be said — who has steadfastly refused to take 
advantage of conditions which offered him the oppor- 
tunity to increase his personal fortune at the expense 
of other individuals or of the welfare of his country. 


Some twenty years ago the author began to collect data 
with the idea of publishing a book on the submarine at a 
future time. There was very little information concerning 
submarines available at that date, as the early experiments 
in this field of navigation were generally conducted in 
secrecy. There had been constructed, up to that time, no 
submarine vessel which was entirely successful, and for this 
reason inventors and designers were disinclined to reveal the 
features of the vessels upon which they were experimenting. 

Since then there has been considerable dissemination of 
facts about the submarine; much of this knowledge has 
found its way into print, some in short historical sketches 
published by the author and other designers. However, most 
of the publications on this subject have come from the hands 
of professional writers and newspaper men, some of whom 
have not had the engineering knowledge to sift the practical 
from the impractical, and who have not had any actual first- 
hand acquaintance with the facts. They have not under- 
stood the mechanical details of the submarine and the prin- 
ciples governing its operation well enough to comprehend 
or to elucidate the various phases of the development of this 
type of vessel. The result has been that many inaccuracies 
have been published, both in respect to the history of the. 
development of the submarine and in regard to the practical 
operation of such vessels. 

There have been published one or two good works deal- 
ing with this subject in a very complete and intelligible 
manner, but intended for those engaged in engineering pur- 


suits. One of the best of these was " The Evolution of the 
Submarine Boat, Mine and Torpedo, from the Sixteenth 
Century to the Present Time," by Commander Murray F. 
Sueter, of the Royal British Navy, published in 1907. 

When this book first appeared the present writer felt 
that the subject had been so fully covered that there was 
no need for him to publish his own information. However, 
since the beginning of the world-war the prominent part 
played by the submarine has led to a demand for more 
knowledge about the workings of this weapon of mystery, 
and for information concerning its future possibilities. 

The aim of this work, therefore, is to present to the 
reader in a simple, interesting way the facts relating to the 
submarine; its mechanical principles; the history of its 
development ; its actual operation ; the difficulty of combat- 
ing it; and its industrial possibilities. These facts are pre- 
sented, together with descriptions of the experience of the 
author and other inventors, in order to clarify in the reader's 
mind the difficulties, the trials and tribulations of both the 
submarine operator and the inventor. Furthermore, the 
narrative is not restricted to a discussion of the submarine 
question from a mechanical standpoint. The submarine to- 
day is a factor in the political and industrial life of the 
world. The submarine problem transcends a mere matter of 
mechanical detail, and a book upon this topic must, of neces- 
sity, deal with it in its broadest aspects. 

Simon Lake 



I. What the Modern Submarine Is 6 

II. Comedy and Tragedy in Submarine Development 36 

III. Experiences of Pioneer Inventors of the Submarine. ... 77 

IV. The Evolution of the Submarine 149 

V. Use of the Submarine in War 196 

VI. The Possibility of Defeating the Submarine 228 

VII. The Submarine in Times of Peace 259 

VIII. The Destiny of the Submarine 289 




Simon Lake Frontispiece 

The Pigmy Conquerer of the Sea 2 

Storage Battery Cell 14 

A, Submarine Cell Completely Assembled Ready for Installation. . 14 

Dn Picket Duty 20 

The Lower Portion of Galileo Periscope 22 

The Voice and Ear of the Submarine 26 

Torpedo Tubes Assembled for Installation in a Submarine Boat. . 27 

A Whitehead Torpedo 28 

Rear End of the Whitehead Torpedo 29 

Rapid-firing Guns 30 

A. Modern Submarine Cruiser, or Fleet Submarine (Lake Type) . . 32 . 

The Launching of the " Protector " 62 

The "Delphine" 66 

The "Fenian Ram" 96 

"Argonaut, Jr.," 1894 128 

Sketch of the Confederate Submarine "Hunley" 150 . 

The New Orleans Submarine 152 

"The Intelligent Whale" 153 

"Argonaut" as Originally Built in August, 1897 176 

Submarine with Cushioned Bottom Wheels 178 

The "Argonaut" after being Lengthened and Rebuilt in 1898; 

Showing Ship-shaped, Watertight, Buoyant Superstructure . . 182 

The " Holland" Running on the Surface 190. 

"Amphibious" Submarine 202 

The "Protector" (Lake Type, 1901-1902) . . : 210 

Official Drawing of the Captured German Mine-planting Sub- 
marine, U C-5 214 

A Bottom-Creeping Submarine Passing Through a Mine Field. ... 216 

A Mine and Net Evading Submarine Under-running a Net 217 

Mines Placed Under Ships at Anchor 220 

Submarine Supply Station 221 

Submarine "Seal" — Lake Type U.S 226 

British Submarine B-i (Holland type) 227 

British Submarine C-2 Arriving at Portsmouth in a Gale 230 

Germany's U-9 and Some of Her Sister Submarines. — Aeroplane 

and Submarine 234 

Russian Cruiser-Lake Type Submarine in Shed Built by Peter 

the Great — 1905 236 

A. Group of German U-boats 238 - 

Russian Lake Type Cruising Submarine "Kaiman" making a Sur- 
face Run in Rough Weather in the Gulf of Finland 239 


The U-65 

Russian-Lake Type ■ ; 

C-i, One of the Later Type French Submarines 

Cargo-Carrying Submarines of the Author's Design 

The "Deutschland" ........................... 

Torpedo being Fired from the Deck Tubes of the Submarine Seal 

British Submarine No. 3 Passing Nelson's Old Flagship "Victory'' 

Under-ice Navigation ;','••«; 

A Submarine Garden at the Bottom of the Sea 

Submarines for Hydrographic Work and Wreck Finding 

The "Argonaut" Submerged 

Experimental Cargo-Recovering Submarine 

Sketch Drawing Illustrating a Method of Transferring Cargoes from 
Sunken Vessels to Submerged Freight Cargo-Carrying Sub- 

Semi-submergible Wrecking Apparatus 

Submarine Oyster Gathering Vessel 

The "Argosy and Argonaut III " 

Diagram of "Argosy and Argonaut III" 


Method of Control in Diving Type Boats 

Method of Controlling Hydroplane Boats 

How Hydroplanes Control Depth of Submersion 

Showing Various Conditions in Which a Submarine of the Level- 
Keel Type Fitted with Bottom Wheels, May Navigate 

The Periscope is the Eye of the Submarine 

Diving Compartment 

BushneU's Submarine, the "American Turtle " 

Robert Fulton's Submarine 

Tuck's "Peacemaker" 

Longitudinal Section of the French Submarire "Le Plungeur" 

The "Plunger" (Holland Type Submarine), Launched in August, 1897 

Lake Design as Submitted to the U. S. Navy Department in 1893 . 

The "Argonaut" after Lengthening and Addition of Buoyant, 
Ship-shaped Superstructure, Increasing the Surface Buoyancy 
over 40 Per Cent 

The "Holland" 

Various Types of Modern Foreign Submarines 

An Amphibious Submarine being Hauled out of the Water 

The "Caviar Map" of Shipping's Greatest Grave-yard 


Diagram to Illustrate the Comparative Visibility and Consequently 
the Comparative Safety of Surface Ships and Cargo-Carrying 



Jules Verne, in 1898, cabled to a New York publi- 
cation : " While my book, ' Twenty Thousand Leagues Under 
the Sea,' is entirely a work of the imagination, my conviction 
is that all I said in it will come to pass. A thousand-mile 
voyage in the Baltimore submarine boat (the Argonaut) 
is evidence of this. This conspicuous success of submarine 
navigation in the United States will push on under-water 
navigation all over the world. If such a successful test had 
come a few months earlier it might have played a great part 
in the war just closed (Spanish- American war). The next 
war may be largely a contest between submarine boats. 
Before the United States gains her full development she is 
likely to have mighty navies, not only on the bosom of the 
Atlantic and Pacific, but in the upper air and beneath the 
waters of the surface." 

The fantasy of Verne is the fact of to-day. 

Admiral Farragut, in 1864, entered Mobile Bay while 
saying: " Damn the torpedoes — four bells; Captain Drayton, 
go ahead ; Jouett, full speed ! " 

An admiral, in 191 7, damns the torpedoes and orders full 
speed ahead, but not toward those points guarded by sub- 
marine torpedo boats. 


While the British Admiralty once held that the sub- 
marine " is the weapon of the weaker power and not our 
concern," to-day the British naval officers in the North Sea 
operations somewhat discredit the former official Admiralty 
stand that "we know all about submarines; they are 
weapons of the weaker power; they are very poor fighting 
machines and can be of no possible use to the mistress of 
the seas." 

Even as late as 1904 the submarine was not considered 
by naval authorities as a weapon of much value. A British 
admiral expressed his views on the submarine at that time 
in these words : " In my opinion, the British Admiralty 
is doing the right thing in building submarines, as in habituat- 
ing our men and officers to them we shall more clearly realize 
their weaknesses when used against us. Even the weapon 
they carry (the Whitehead torpedo) is, to all intents and 
purposes, of unknown value for sea fighting." 

However, from the very outbreak of the war now being 
carried on in Europe, the submarine has made its presence 
felt as a most effective weapon. German submarines have 
translated into actuality the prophecies of Verne, and have 
altered the views not only of the English but of the world 
as to the efficacy of the submarine as a naval weapon. 

On March 10, 1915, a former chief constructor in the 
French Navy, M. Lauboeuf , stated : " An English fleet block- 
ades the German coast, but at such a distance that a German 
division was able to go out and bombard Scarborough. When 
the English tried a close blockade at the beginning of the 
war, the German submarines made them pay dearly by tor- 
pedoing the Pathfinder, Cressy, Hogue, and Aboukir. Simi- 
larly the French fleet in the Adriatic was compelled to 















blockade Austrian ports from a great distance, and the battle- 
ships Jules Ferry, Waldeck Rousseau, and Jean Bart had 
fortunate escapes from the Austrian fleet." 

As I write, the submarines of Germany are holding the 
navies of the Allied Powers in check. The British fleet 
dares not invade German waters or attempt a close blockade 
of German ports. In spite of the mighty English navy, 
the German U-boats — the invisible destroyers — are ventur- 
ing forth daily into the open Atlantic and are raising such 
havoc with merchant shipping that the world is terrified at 
the prospect. It is the German U-boat which to-day en- 
courages the Central Powers to battle almost single-handedly 
against the rest of the world's great nations. 

So it is in this surprising manner that the submarine 
torpedo boat has emerged from its swaddling clothes and has 
begun to speak for itself. Its progress and development 
have been retarded for many years by the lack of apprecia- 
tion of its possibilities on the part of those who have had 
the planning of naval programs. These have been, for the 
most part, men of ripe years and experience, and perhaps 
because of these years of experience they have become ultra- 
conservative and have been inclined to scoff and doubt the 
capabilities of any new device until it has been tried out 
by the fire of actual experience. Notwithstanding the fact 
that the problem of submarine navigation has been success- 
fully solved for the past fifteen years, it has been only within 
the past four years that any great naval authority has un- 
qualifiedly endorsed submarines as being of paramount 
importance in naval affairs. 

Admiral Sir Percy Scott, in a strong letter to the 
London Times shortly previous to the beginning of the 



present war, stated : " The introduction of the vessels that 
swim under water has, in my opinion, entirely done away 
with the utility of the ships that swim on top of the water." 

He stated further : " If we go to war with a country 
that is within striking distance of submarines, I am of the 
opinion that the country will at once lock up their dread- 
noughts in some safe harbor and we shall do the same. 
I do not think the importance of submarines has been fully 
recognized, neither do I think that it has been realized 
how completely their advent has revolutionized naval 
warfare. In my opinion, as the motor has driven the 
horse from the road, so the submarine has driven the 
battleship from the sea." 

Sir Percy Scott, however, is an inventor, being the man 
who devised the " spot " method of gun firing, and has, 
therefore, the type of mind which is able to foresee and to 
grasp the value of new devices. 

Sir A. Conan Doyle, another man of great vision and 
imagination, was so impressed with the potentialities of the 
submarine that he wrote a story which prophesied, with such 
accuracy as to make his tale almost uncanny, the events which 
are actually taking place to-day around the coast of England 
in the prosecution of Germany's submarine blockade. 

In these pages, therefore, I may make claims for sub- 
marines which have not yet been publicly proved by actual 
performance, and such claims may impress many as being 
as visionary as the destructive capabilities of submarines 
appeared to be until Lieutenant Weddingen, of the German 
Navy, shocked the conservatives and put the submarine on 
the map as a naval weapon by sinking, single-handed, three 
cruisers within one hour of each other. 



I shall be careful, however, not to make any claim for 
submarines which is not warranted by experiments actually 
made during my twenty-two years' continual study and 
experience in designing and building submarine boats and 
submarine appliances in the United States and abroad. 

To men of imagination and of inventive faculties these 
claims will not appear preposterous. The achievements of 
the submarine, in the face of all the ridicule, scepticism, 
and opposition which surrounded its development, will, I 
hope, commend these advanced ideas of mine to the attention, 
if not the respect, of the more conservative. 


What is a modern submarine boat? A modern sub- 
marine vessel is a complex mechanism capable of being 
navigated on the surface of the water just as is any boat, 
but with the added faculty of disappearing at will beneath 
the surface, and of being operated beneath the surface in 
any desired direction at any desired depth. Some sub- 
marines are able to wheel along the bottom itself, and are 
also provided with diving compartments from which mem- 
bers of the crew, encased in diving suits, may readily leave 
and re-enter the vessel during its submergence. 

The principal use to which the submarine vessel has 
thus far been turned has been that of a naval weapon, for 
scouting and for firing explosive automobile torpedoes, either 
for defensive or offensive purposes. Its full capacity has 
by no means been realized up to the present time. 

All submarines, regardless of their design, have certain 
essential features which will be described in the order of 
their importance. 

The Hull. — This must be watertight and capable of 
withstanding a pressure corresponding to the depth at which 
the vessel is designed to operate. The hull in most sub- 
marines is circular in cross-section ; the circular form is best 
adapted for withstanding pressure. In some cases this 
circular hull is surrounded by another hull or is fitted with 
other appendages which will both increase the stability and 
seaworthiness of the submarine and add to its speed. 



Superstructure. — Most of the early military submarines 
built for the French, Spanish, United States, and English 
governments were circular in cross-section and of cigar- or 
spindle-shaped form in their longitudinal profile view. It 
is difficult, in vessels of this form, to secure sufficient stabil- 
ity to make them seaworthy. They are apt to roll like a 
barrel when light, due to a diminishing water plane, and 
when under way the water is forced up over their bows, 
making a large " bow wave " which absorbs power and 
causes such vessels to dive at times when least expected. 
In some instances this tendency to dive has caused loss of 
the vessel, and, in some cases, of the lives of the crew as well. 

They are also very wet for surface navigation, as the 
seas break over their inclined sides like breakers on a beach. 
These difficulties led to the invention of the buoyant super- 
structure, first used on the Argonaut. This is a watertight 
structure built of light-weight plating — in some cases it has 
been built of wood — with valves which admit free water 
to the interior of the superstructure before submerging. 

By the admission of the water, danger of collapse is 
prevented. By this expedient the pressure upon these light 
plates is equalized when the vessel is submerged. This 
combination of a circular pressure-resisting inner structure, 
surmounted by a non-pressure-resisting outer structure of 
ship-shaped form, is now common to all modern submarines 
of all navies of the world. This superstructure adds to the 
seaworthiness and habitability of submarine vessels and in- 
creases their speed, both in the light and submerged con- 
ditions, as it admits of better stream lines. 

Stability. — The stability of a vessel refers to its ability 
to keep upright and on a level keel. It is desirable to have 



great stability in a submarine in order that it may not 
assume excessive angles when submerged. The measure 
of stability is expressed in inches of metacentric height. 
The metacentric height of a vessel when submerged is the 
distance between the centre of buoyancy — or submerged 
volume — of the vessel and the centre^of all the weights of 
hull, machinery, stores, and equipment contained within the 
vessel. This distance between the centre of buoyancy and 
the centre of gravity must be determined very accurately 
in order to obtain conditions of ideal stability in a submarine. 

The metacentric height of a vessel is a term used in naval 
architecture to express the stability of the ship. In surface 
ships the term may be used to express either the longitudinal 
or transverse stability of the vessel, and varies according to 
the load line and trim or heel of the ship. On the other 
hand, in submarine boats when submerged the metacentric 
height is constant and expresses the distance between the 
centre of gravity and the centre of buoyancy of the vessel, 
and is the same either in the transverse or longitudinal plane 
of the vessel. In other words, the centre of buoyancy of the 
vessel when submerged must be directly over the centre of 
gravity of the vessel to cause her to submerge on a level keel. 

We then get the effect of a pendulum, the length of the 
pendulum arm being the distance between the two points, 
and the weight of the pendulum equalling the weight of the 
ship. Therefore, if a submarine has a submerged displace- 
ment of five hundred tons, with a metacentric height of 
twelve inches, her stability, or ability to remain upright, is 
equal to a pendulum of five hundred tons hung by an arm 
twelve inches long, and it would require the same force to 
incline the ship as it would to incline the pendulum. There- 



fore it is evident that the greater the metacentric height the 
more stable the ship, and the less likely she is to make 
eccentric dives to the bottom or " broach " to the surface. 

Ballast Tanks. — All submarines are fitted with tanks 
which may be filled with water so that the vessel will sub- 
merge; these are called ballast tanks. When the vessel is 
navigating on the surface she has what is called " reserve 
of buoyancy," the same as any surface vessel. It is this 
reserve of buoyancy which causes the vessel to rise with 
the seas in rough weather. It means the volume of the 
watertight portion of the vessel above the water line. In 
surface cruising a vessel with great buoyancy will rise to 
the seas, while if the "reserve " is small the vessel is termed 
" l°ggy " an d will not rise to the sea. In the latter case 
the seas will break over the vessel just as they break over a 
partially submerged rock in a storm. On such a vessel the 
men cannot go on deck in a storm ; in a sea-going submarine 
a large reserve of buoyancy is therefore essential. 

Now in a modern submarine, of five hundred tons sub- 
merged displacement, for instance, this reserve should be 
about one hundred and twenty-five tons, according to the 
best practice. This means that before the vessel could sink 
beneath the surface the ballast tanks must be filled with one 
hundred and twenty-five tons of water. On the surface 
these tanks are filled with air. The water is permitted to 
enter by the opening of valves for that purpose. These 
ballast tanks are located within the main hull and in the 

Propelling Machinery. — When on the surface the sub- 
marine may be propelled by steam, internal-combustion en- 
gines, or any other kind of motive power adapted to the 



propulsion of surface ships. For propulsion when sub- 
merged many types of engine have been tried : compressed 
air engines; steam engines drawing the steam from boilers 
in which water has been stored at high temperatures ; car- 
bonic acid gas engines, and the internal-combustion engines 
receiving their air supply from compressed-air tanks. Most 
modern submarines use internal-combustion engines for sur- 
face navigation and storage batteries delivering current to 
electric motors for submerged propulsion. The internal- 
combustion engine is best suited for surface work because 
it can be started or stopped instantly, which is a desirable 
feature in submarine work. It is not fitted for submerged 
operation because of its great noisiness, and also because 
its spent gases must be discharged from the boat, in which 
case these gases ascend to the surface in the form of bubbles 
and thus betray the presence and position of the submarine. 
The storage battery, on the contrary, permits the use 
of practically noiseless machinery and does not require 
any outboard discharge of gases, as the battery gives 
off no material quantity of gases when delivering its 
stored-up power. 

I was the first to use successfully an internal-combustion 
engine in a submarine boat, the Argonaut. This first engine 
was a heavy-duty engine of rugged construction, and gave 
but little trouble. This type of engine, with but slight 
modifications, was installed in six other boats built subsequent 
to the Argonaut. They also worked satisfactorily for sev- 
eral years, and so long as I had knowledge of them they 
always gave satisfactory and reliable service. 

The first gasolene (petrol) internal-combustion engines 
installed in the Holland boats were also of rugged con- 


struction, and I have been informed by various officers in 
our submarine service that they were reliable and gave but 
little trouble. It is known that, after twelve years' service, 
some of them are still doing good work. The boats in which 
these engines were installed were slow-speed boats, making 
only from eight to nine knots on the surface. 

A natural desire on the part of the governments of 
various nations was to secure increased speed. They sent 
out requirements to submarine boat builders calling for 
increased speeds within certain limits of cost. The sub- 
marine boat builders said : " Certainly we can give you in- 
creased speed if the engine builders can give us engines of 
the necessary power to go into the available space, and 
within a certain weight, to thus enable us to get the power 
plant within a certain size vessel possessing the fine lines 
necessary to give the required speed." The engine builders 
said they could do it. 

The first, as I remember, to break away from the slow- 
speed, heavy-duty type was a celebrated Italian firm. Then 
two large and well-known German firms followed; then a 
celebrated English firm, and certain American firms claimed 
that they could build reliable, compact, high-speed engines 
on very much less weight than we had been using. I remem- 
ber one American firm which offered engines as low in 
weight as twenty pounds per horsepower. Fortunately, we 
had sense enough to refuse to accept an engine so light as 
that, but we, as well as all other submarine boat builders both 
in this country and abroad, did accept contracts which re- 
quired engines very much less in weight than the old, slow, 
heavy-duty type first used, and there has been " wailing and 
gnashing of teeth " both by the submarine boat builders and 


by the engine-room forces in the world's submarine navies 
ever since. 

The first light-weight engines built by the Italian firm 
" smashed up " in short order. The German engines fol- 
lowed suit, and the losses to this firm, or to the shipbuilders, 
must have been enormous, as a large number of engines were 
built by them before a set was tested out in actual service. 
The test of an engine in the shop, on a heavy foundation, 
open to inspection on all sides, and with expert mechanics 
in constant touch with the engine, does not mean that this 
same engine will prove satisfactory in the restricted space 
available in a submarine boat when run by other than expert 
engine-building mechanics. I was present at a shop test 
of one of the German engines referred to, and under shop 
conditions it appeared to work very well — so well, in fact, 
that I took an option for my firm to build from the same 
designs in America. When the engine was tried out, how- 
ever, in one of the German submarines it rapidly deterio- 
rated and pounded itself into junk in a few weeks. Cylinders 
and cylinder heads cracked, bed-plates were broken, and 
crank-shafts twisted or broken. It was evident that the 
design was too light all the way through. 

There are some destructive actions in connection with 
large, high-speed, light-weight internal-combustion engines 
which practically all designing engineers have failed to 
grasp. Otherwise, engineers of all nationalities would not 
have failed to the extent they have; and I do not believe 
that there is a submarine engine in service to-day which has 
fully met the expectations of its designers and builders. 

It is unfortunate for the engineering profession that 
government policy will not permit of a full disclosure of the 



defects of engines and other equipment in government- 
owned vessels. Were a frank disclosure made, other in- 
ventors and engineers would, in all probability, take up the 
problems and they might the sooner be solved. 

All the earlier submarines were equipped with engines 
which used gasolene (petrol) as a fuel, but the gas from this 
fuel, when mixed with a proper proportion of air, is highly 
explosive. A number of serious explosions occurred in 
submarines due to this gas escaping from leaky tanks, pip- 
ings, or valves. Some of them were accompanied by loss 
of life. The most disastrous was that on board the Italian 
submarine Foca, in which it is reported that twenty-three 
men were killed. Therefore, several years ago, all govern- 
ments demanded the installation of engines using a non- 
explosive fuel ; and builders then turned to the " Diesel " 
engine as offering a solution of the problem. 

As early as 1905 I had anticipated that such a demand 
would ultimately be made, so during that year I built, in 
Berlin, Germany, an experimental double-acting heavy-oil 
engine ; but unfortunately the engineer in charge of the work 
was taken ill and eventually died. This engine was later 
completed and showed great flexibility in its control and in 
reversing. It, however, has never been put on a manu- 
facturing basis. 

In the meantime, others took up the work of developing 
the heavy oil Diesel engine for submarines. The first of 
the Diesel type engines to be installed in a submarine were 
built by a well-known French firm of engine builders. As 
we were then in the market for heavy-oil submarine engines, 
plans of these engines were submitted to me, but I found it 
impossible to install them in any boat we then had under 



construction, owing to their size and weight. I have been 
advised that engines of this design were installed in some 
of the French submarine boats. I have also been informed 
that the shock and vibrations produced by them were such 
as to cause the rivets in the boats to loosen, and this started 
the vessels to leaking so badly that it was found necessary 
to take them out. These engines differed only slightly from 
the vertical Diesel land engine. 

The engine is the most important element in the sub- 
marine. Without this it is impossible to make long surface 
runs, and in the event of its disablement it is impossible to 
charge the storage batteries to enable the submarine to 
function submerged, which is, of course, what she is built 
for doing. 

I think the demand for increased speed has come too 
rapidly. It is more important to have reliability than speed. 
The criticisms which have been made regarding United 
States submarines, if traced to their source, may be found 
to be justified so far as they apply to the engines, but the 
Navy Department cannot be held responsible, and neither can 
the designers of submarines. They have both searched the 
world's markets and secured the best that could be pur- 
chased. All naval departments were undoubtedly right when 
they decided to abandon the gasolene (petrol) engine and 
substitute' therefor the heavy-oil engine. Eventually a 
successful heavy-oil engine will be produced. 

The Diesel engine, weighing practically five hundred 
pounds or more per horsepower, has functioned satisfac- 
torily in land installations and has come into very general 
use, especially in Germany, but when the attempt was made 
to change this slow-speed engine of five hundred pounds 


-35 * 

o 2 S.g*« 

S.9- <>_. 

atteries as 


The batte 

while bein 

both vesse 



used in 
ts for tr 
ries as fi 
? charge 
and ere 




< en o 


dern subm 
ervice are 
ere the cau 






re 3'g2. 

^p »*£ 



» W < CD 

p.33 o. 


ly d 
ely t 

rt o 2 < 
o ^ 2. 






t m tro 

er serv 
tand u 
w, and 


tr" o"? 




P r+n 1 re 

< O r+ 



ial ne 
hich t 
ir wor 
en in 






le s 
k, a 



of s 
nd t 
e ca 











per horsepower into high-speed engines of approximately 
fifty pounds per horsepower, all designers " fell down." It 
was but natural that naval authorities throughout the world 
should call for increased speed ; they cannot be criticised for 
that, as it is a desirable thing, but experience has shown that 
they called for it too early in the game. 

The expense of the development of a new type of motive 
power, such as the high-speed, heavy-oilJburning engine, for 
use in vessels whose prime purpose is to preserve the auton- 
omy of the country, should be borne by the government 
rather than by individuals or private corporations. Millions 
of dollars have been expended in the development work of 
engines, but, although vast improvements are now in prog- 
ress, the successful engine is not yet on the market. 

Dr. Diesel has stated that he worked seven years before 
he succeeded in getting his first engine to make one com- 
plete revolution. Governments and the people must there- 
fore content themselves to accept what they can get in a 
heavy-oil engine, imperfect though it may be, until such time 
as a satisfactory engine is evolved, built, and tested out 
under service conditions. 

Storage Batteries. — It is impossible in a book of this 
character to go into much detail regarding the development 
of the storage battery. There have been two types in 
general use. They are both lead batteries, one known as 
the Plante type, in which metallic lead is used to form both 
the positive and negative plates. The other type employs 
what is commonly known as pasted plates, in which various 
compositions of materials are worked up into a paste and 
forced into metallic grids, to form the positive and negative 



plates. The pasted type has greater capacity per pound 
of material used, but much shorter life. 

In both of these batteries sulphuric acid solutions are 
used as the excitant between the elements. In charging, 
hydrogen gas is given off in the form of bubbles, the skin 
of the bubbles being composed of sulphuric acid solution. 
These bubbles, when taken in one's lungs, are very irritat- 
ing, and if they collect in any quantity, or break up and 
allow the hydrogen gas to mix with the air, there is always 
danger of creating an explosive mixture within the hull of 
the vessel or in the battery tanks, which a spark would set 
off at any time. 

The best method of installing batteries on a submarine 
boat is to have them isolated from the living quarters of the 
vessel in separate watertight compartments. The elements 
of the battery should be contained in non-metallic containers 
and sealed to prevent spilling of the electrolyte under exces- 
sive rolling or pitching of the vessel. Means should be 
provided to discharge the hydrogen gases from the boat as 
rapidly as formed. Special care should be taken to prevent 
leakages between the adjacent cells. Circulation of air to 
keep the cells dry is the best means of preventing this. 

Mr. Edison has been working for a number of years on 
a storage battery suitable for submarine work, and it has 
recently been stated that he has finally solved the problem 
of producing a battery that will stand up longer than the 
lead type of battery, and that it has the further advantage 
in that it will not give off chlorine gas in case salt water 
should get into the cells. It should, however, be contained 
in a separate compartment, which should be ventilated dur- 
ing the charging period, as I understand the Edison battery 



gives off hydrogen gas the same as the lead batteries. 
Chlorine gas, as given off from the lead battery when salt 
water has got into it, has undoubtedly caused the loss of 
some lives. Mr. Edison claims that his battery, when 
immersed, will not give off poisonous gases of any kind. 

Depth Control. — Practically all modern submarines use 
hydroplanes with a horizontal rudder for the control of 
depth when under way. Hydroplanes might be said to corre- 


Horizontal rudder set down aft inclines the vessel down by the bow, in which 
condition, with only a small reserve of buoyancy, she will " dive." When she reaches 
the desired depth a lesser inclination of the diving rudder is supposed to reduce her 
angle of inclination sufficiently so that the pressure on the top of her hull will offset 
the tendency to rise due to her positive buoyancy. To be successful there must be 
no movable ballast, and variable stream line effect requires expert manipulation of 
the diving rudder. 

spond to the side fins of a fish. They are substantially flat 
vanes that extend from either side of the vessel. They are 
set on shafts that may be partially rotated by mechanism in 
control of a man within the vessel. They readily control 
the depth of the vessel with a certain amount of either posi- 
tive or negative buoyancy. For instance, submarines are 
usually submerged with a small amount of positive buoyancy. 
If a vessel has positive buoyancy she will float. We have 

2 17 


seen that in a surface condition the five-hundred-ton sub- 
marine has about one hundred and twenty-five tons of 
positive buoyancy. 

Now to prepare the vessel for a submerged run, we admit, 
say, one hundred and twenty-four tons of water ; the posi- 
tive buoyancy is then reduced to one ton. Now if the for- 


Showing a proper arrangement of hydroplanes and horizontal rudders. C B 
represents the centre of buoyancy of the vessel when submerged. G represents 
centre of gravity, which lies directly beneath centre of buoyancy. Now if hydro- 

E lanes are located at equal distances fore and aft their up or down pull is always 
alanced and does not cause the vessel to dive or broach, but holds her to a level 
keel. If stream line pull tends to upset this level keel, horizontal rudders may be 
used to correct it. 

ward edges of the hydroplanes are inclined downward (see 
diagram), and the vessel is given headway, the pressure of 
the water on top of the inclined hydroplanes, combined with 
the tendency for a. vacuum to form under the planes, will 
overcome the one ton of positive buoyancy and will 
pull the vessel bodily under the water. When the desired 
depth is reached the operator sets the inclination of the 



hydroplanes so as to just balance the upward pull of the one 
ton of positive buoyancy, and the vessel proceeds at the 
desired depth. On modern boats the control of depth is 
most remarkable ; it is very common for submarines to make 
continuous runs of several hours' duration without varying 
their depth more than a couple of feet. When the headway 
or motive force of the submarine is stopped, if she has 
reserved some positive buoyancy she will come to the 

j eeutat et vaaa. 

J* i» 



The vessel being ' ' under way ' ' in the course of the arrow, the water contacting 
against the upper surface of the hydroplanes, as in the upper view, its course is 
thus diverted and adds weight to the upper surface of the planes. There is also a 
tendency to form a vacuum under the plane. Both these forces tend to overcome 
the positive buoyancy of the boat and force her under water and on a level keel if 
these forces are properly distributed fore and aft of the centre of buoyancy and 
gravity ^of the vessel. 

surface. If she has negative buoyancy she will sink, but 
while under way with as much as a ton of positive or 
negative buoyancy the hydroplanes will absolutely control 
the depth of the vessel. 

Action of the Hydroplanes. — The diagrams are in- 
tended to demonstrate how it is that the Lake and other 
hydroplane boats can be so easily held at a predetermined 
depth and controlled vertically on an even keel. 



The hydroplanes are symmetrically disposed on two 
sides of the vessel. They should be equal distance forward 
and aft of amidships. This symmetrical disposition, with 
equal forces acting on each hydroplane, compels the boat 
either to rise or sink on an even keel, depending upon which 
face of the hydroplanes is presented to the passing water 
during the boat's progress. 

In the upper diagram the entering edges of the hydro- 
planes are inclined downward, and the force of the passing 
stream lines strikes upon the upper face of the blades. This 
exerts a downward force which causes the boat to sink, as 
indicated by the arrows marked "A, A." The opposite of 
this takes place when the forward ends of the hydroplanes 
are lifted. This brings the force of the stream lines against 
the under side of the hydroplanes, and the resultant is a 
lifting impulse in the direction of the line of least resistance, 
which is here indicated by the arrows marked " B, B." It 
is the lifting force so applied that makes it possible to raise 
hydroplane boats from the bottom even when having con- 
siderable negative buoyancy. 

Holding Depth When Not Under Way. — If it is 
desired to bring the boat to rest while submerged, but when 
no motive force is being used, other methods must be used 
than that just described. One method is to have an anchor 
or anchors to hold the vessel at the desired depth. If it is 
desired to lie at rest off the entrance of the enemy's harbor 
to wait for her ships to come out, the submarine proceeds 
to her station submerged with a small amount of buoyancy, — 
which is the usual method of navigating submerged. When 
she arrives at the desired station the speed is reduced and 
an additional amount of water is gradually admitted to give 


her a small amount of negative buoyancy. At the same time 
her anchoring weights are paid out until they touch bottom. 
As soon as they do so water is forced out of the ballast tanks 
by compressed air until positive buoyancy is restored and 
the vessel stops sinking and remains at rest anchored be- 
tween the surface and the bottom, like an anchored buoyant 
mine. By winding in on the anchor cables a submarine 
may then be hauled down nearer the bottom, and by paying 
out the cables she may rise nearer the surface. On picket 
duty off harbor entrances she remains sufficiently near the 

1 ^r^ S fr^T -^ 





I, running light on surface; 2, awash, ready, for submergence; 3, submerged, depth 
controlled by ..hydroplanes; 4, running on bottom. 

surface to project her telescoping periscope occasionally 
above the crest of the waves to keep watch and see that an 
enemy ship does not enter or clear. In this condition there is 
no necessity to have any machinery running on board the 
submarine, therefore she can remain for weeks at a time on 
station without exhausting her fuel supply. It is only neces- 
sary for her to renew the air supply now and then, which 
can be done at night. Another method for holding a vessel 
at rest is by taking in and forcing out alternately small 
quantities of water so as to keep her in equilibrium between 



positive and negative buoyancy. Another method is to use 
vertical propellers operating in wells extended from the 
sides, and by running these it is possible to exert an upward 
or downward pressure and so hold her at a depth. Neither 
of these methods is as satisfactory, however, as the anchor 
weights, because the vessel will not hold a definite position 
on station, but will drift off with the current. They also 
make a drain on the storage battery and require constant 
attention on the part of the members of the crew. By the 
anchor weights scheme the vessel may stay on station as 
long as the food and fuel supply holds out. 

The above facts set forth simply the outstanding mechani- 
cal principles upon which the operation of the submarine is 
based. The submarine of to-day, however, has many 
auxiliaries, to describe which in detail would require several 
volumes of technical description. 

I will briefly enumerate a few of the more important 
of these devices and describe their function as applied to the 
war submarine. 

The Periscope. — The periscope is the eye of the sub- 
marine. In its simpler form it consists of a stiff metallic 
tube, from fifteen to twenty feet in length and about four 
inches in diameter. Referring to Figure i, on page 23, it 
is made up of an object glass, A, which " views " or takes 
an impression of all objects within its rangei or field of 
vision, and transmits an image of such object through the 
right-angle prism, B, which turns the image so that it appears 
some distance down the tube, say, for purposes of descrip- 
tion, at C. If a piece of ground glass were held at the focus 
of the objective lens at C, the image could be seen. The lens 
D, located farther down the tube, in turn now " views " the 

Valve to pre- 
vent water en- 
tering vessel if 
the periscope 
is shot away. 

Eye piece. 



(See description.) 



image and transmits it still farther down the tube, where 
it is turned through the right-angle prism, E, and where 
the image is again turned into an erect position. A piece 
of ground glass located at F would show the image in the 
same manner as an image is shown on the ground glass of a 
camera. The magnifying eyepiece G magnifies the image 
so that distant objects appear of natural size. 

Other figures show a periscope as made by the Officina 
Galileo in Florence, Italy. This firm makes periscopes with 
binocular eyepieces. The success of any periscope depends 
upon the character of the material used in the lenses and 
prisms and the accuracy of the workmanship. This firm, 
which is probably the oldest optical manufacturing house 
in the world, said to have been founded by Galileo himself, 
turns out instruments of the most beautiful workmanship. 
The flange of the instrument is bolted to the top of the con- 
ning tower, or deck, and a gate valve is arranged between 
the deck and the eyepiece so that in case the tube should 
be carried away the gate valve can be closed and thus prevent 
water from entering the vessel. A hand wheel arranged 
below the binocular eyepiece permits of easy rotation of the 
instrument. Provision is made for introducing dry air; this 
prevents condensation forming on the lenses or prisms 
within the tube. 

Owing to the fact that there is a certain loss of light in 
transmitting the image through the various prisms and 
lenses, it is customary to magnify the image so that it appears 
to be about one-quarter larger than when viewed by the 
natural eye. This has been found by experience to give, 
when viewed through the periscope alone from a submerged 
vessel, the impression of correct distance. 



Previous to 1900 there was no instrument which would 
give through a long tube normal vision and a correct idea 
as to distance. At this time I took up with various opticians 
the question of producing such an instrument. They all 
contended that it was impossible to produce an instrument 
that would give through a long tube a field of vision equal 
to the natural eye or that would convey a correct idea as to 
the distance of an object when viewed through a long tube. 
The camera lucida which Mr. Holland and others had used 
in the earlier submarines simply threw a picture of the 
object on a bit of white paper, usually located on a table. 
This did not give to the observer any more idea of the 
correct distance of an object than a photograph would. 
Believing, however, that a solution could be found, I 
then purchased a variety of lenses and started making 

Without any special knowledge of optical science, one 
day quite by accident I secured the desired result and 
found that it was possible to secure practically normal vision 
through a tube of considerable length. About the same 
time, Sir Howard Grubb, of England, brought out an instru- 
ment in which he accomplished the same result. I then con- 
tinued in my experimental work and brought out an 
instrument which was designed to give a simultaneous view 
of the entire horizon. 

This instrument was called an " omniscope." It was 
first called a " skalomniscope," which was a word coined 
with the idea of describing the function of the instrument 
and which, translated, means " to view and measure every- 
thing." A scale was used in connection with this instrument 
which would convert it into a range finder by measuring 



the image of an object of known dimensions, such as the 
length of a ship or the height of its smokestack, and give 
simultaneous reading as to its distance. 

For a time it was necessary for us to manufacture our 
own sighting instruments, but later, when the optical houses 
understood the principle of the periscope, they took up the 
matter of manufacture and have so greatly improved them 
that it is now possible to secure instruments of great accuracy 
and fine definition. 

The periscope, however, is faulty, in that it is only 
an instrument for day use. As soon as dusk comes on the 
periscope becomes useless. The passing of the image down 
the tube and through the various lenses and prisms reduces 
the brilliancy of the image to such an extent that, even 
though it is finally magnified to above normal, the image is 
so thin at night that it cannot be seen. This forces the 
submarine to become vulnerable in making an attack at 
night, as it is necessary for the conning tower to be brought 
a sufficient distance above the surface of the water to permit 
the commanding officer to secure natural vision. 

With the powerful searchlights and rapid-fire guns, the 
submarine would have little opportunity to approach a sur- 
face war vessel at night without great danger of being 
discovered and destroyed. 

Invisible Conning Tower. — For night observation it 
has been proposed to use transparent conning towers built 
of clear glass, in which the commander takes his station and 
just sticks his head above the crest of the waves in order to 
direct his vessel against the enemy. This has not as yet 
come into general use because of the difficulty of securing 
sufficiently clear glass in the desired form. Experiments 



A Fessenden oscillator, before being installed. The flange of the oscillator is 
riveted to the shell of the ship and its diaphragm is caused to vibrate by the sound 
waves, which pass through water more distinctly than they do through the air. 
To send out signals it is caused to vibrate mechanically by electrical apparatus. 


have been made, however, which show that quite a large 
transparent conning tower cannot be seen on a submarine 
at rest even when within a couple of hundred yards; the 
application of these conning towers will greatly increase the 
submarine's efficiency for night work. 

Submarine Sound Receivers. — All modern submarines 
are fitted with devices which enable the commanders of 
submarines to communicate with each other when running 
under water even when considerable distances apart. One 
of these outfits consists of a signal bell and a powerful 
receiver with which sounds may be transmitted and heard. 
Conversations may be carried on by the Morse and other 
codes for distances of ten or twelve miles. 

A later device, called the Fessenden oscillator, will trans- 
mit or receive sounds a distance of twenty miles. The prin- 
ciple of its operation is that of setting up wave vibrations 
by very large transmitters ; these vibrations are carried by the 
water and taken up by receivers on other submarines. It 
has been found that the human voice will set up vibrations 
in the Fessenden transmitter so clearly that wireless con- 
versation may be carried on under water for several hundred 
yards. I discovered in my earlier experiments that when a 
submarine was lying submerged, with all machinery shut 
down, the noise of the machinery in an approaching ship 
could be detected quite a distance off without the use of 
any special kind of receivers. In this way the commander 
of a submarine can always note the approach of an enemy 
simply by shutting down his own machinery. The warning 
thus given him comes long before he could sight the enemy 
ship were he on the surface. After a little experience one 
can tell the type of ship approaching from the sound, as 



every type of ship has sounds peculiar to her class. The 
smash of paddle wheels, the deep, slow pound of the heavy 
merchant ships or battleships, the clack and the whir of the 
higher speed machinery on destroyers or torpedo boats, are 
all easily recognizable when one becomes familiar with 
them. At the present time all the larger submarines are 
fitted with wireless outfits on their decks which they may 
use when on the surface to communicate with other sub- 
marines or with their base. 

Torpedo Tubes. — These are used to start the automobile 
torpedo on its course toward the enemy. In simple form 
they are tubes about eighteen inches in diameter and seven- 
teen feet long, placed in line with the axis of the vessel. 
They are fitted with doors both internal and external to the 
submarine. The inboard door of the tube opens into the 
interior of the vessel and permits the loading of the torpedo. 
When the torpedo is to be discharged the inboard door is 
closed and securely fastened. The outer door is then opened, 
and through the operation of quick-opening valves com- 
pressed air is admitted back of the torpedo and the tor- 
pedo is driven out of the tube in the same manner that the 
bullet is driven out of an air rifle or the cork out of a 
pop-gun. Some of the larger modern submarines carry sev- 
eral torpedo tubes firing in line with the axis of the vessel 
both forward and aft. Some carry torpedo tubes on 
their decks which may be made to train to fire broadside 
on either side of the vessel. 

Automobile Torpedoes. — These are the projectiles 
which are used to destroy the enemy's ship. They are called 
automobile torpedoes because they will, on being ejected from 
the torpedo tubes, continue running in the direction in which 
















































(0 ^ 

O "O 

3 tB 












oT H 


-i q*!>p 





3 fTS,2 

r the 
tal p 



£3 as- 
sure 2 

' « n O 



£ H O H 


3 P £+ r+ 


o." e 2. 


5'g- e 2. 


oq^o ^ 



2 tB 1) < 

o £& 

n> n; 3 re 

n K 3 o 

S. 3 8» 
3 2 » g" 



they are aimed, from power and mechanism contained within 
themselves. They are wonderful pieces of mechanism and 
cost several thousand dollars each. They are virtually minia- 
ture submarine boats. The essential features of the auto- 
mobile torpedo are the airfiask, the warhead, the depth 
control, and steering and propelling machinery. The air- 
flask forms the central section, which is a steel tank 
containing compressed air stored at high pressure; about 
twenty-five hundred pounds per square inch is the present 
practice. When the torpedo is expelled from the torpedo 
tube this air is automatically turned on to run the engines. 
It passes through reducing valves and heaters to drive 
either a multiple cylinder or a turbine engine, and revolves 
two propellers, running one clockwise and the other counter- 
clockwise, set in tandem at the stern of the torpedo. The 
propellers, running in opposite directions, thus enable the 
torpedo to be more easily steered by the delicate automatic 
steering machinery. A diaphragm operated by the pressure 
of the water operates control mechanism which regulates the 
depth. An instrument called the " Obry gear " steers it in 
the horizontal plane. The essential feature of the " Obry 
gear " is a gyroscope which is started when the torpedo is 
ejected from the tube. It is instantly speeded up either by 
a powerful spring or an air turbine to about fifteen thousand 
revolutions per minute. The peculiarity of the gyroscope is 
that it has a tendency to hold the direction in which it is 
started. Hence, if the torpedo starts swerving either to the 
right or left from the direction in which it is aimed, the 
gyroscope causes certain valves to function which will auto- 
matically set the steering rudder to bring the torpedo back 
into its original course. The " Gyro " will continue this 



control until the torpedo has completed its course, which 
in some of the latest types is said to he about five miles. 

The warhead is the forward portion of the torpedo and 
contains usually wet gun-cotton, which is a safe high ex- 
plosive and can be exploded only by a detonating charge 
of the more sensitive explosives. This detonating charge is 
placed in a tube screwed -into the forward end of the torpedo. 
Extending out from the forward end of the tube is a small 
propeller, the purpose of which is to set the firing mechan- 
ism after the torpedo has run a certain distance from the 
vessel from which it has been fired. This is a safety device 
to prevent the torpedo from being exploded near its own 
ship. The torpedo running through the water causes the 
propeller to revolve, which turns a shaft. After the shaft 
makes a certain number of revolutions it sets a firing pin, 
and then if it hits an object it will explode. Many modern 
torpedoes are loaded with trinitrotoluol. This is a much 
more powerful explosive. According to experts, the explo- 
sion of two hundred and fifty pounds of T-N-T, as it is 
called, will destroy any battleship ever built. 

Divers' Compartment. — Some submarines are fitted with 
a divers' compartment, from which compartment mines may 
be planted, either when on the surface or when submerged. 
This compartment is fitted with a door which opens out- 
wardly in the bottom of the boat. It is shut off from the 
living and machinery rooms of the vessel by an air lock 
and heavy pressure-resisting doors. The divers' door may 
be opened when the vessel is submerged and navigating on 
the bottom, and no water will come into the vessel when the 
door is opened. This is accomplished in the following man- 
ner: The members of the crew who wish to go outside the 


Courtesy of the Scientific American 


Rapid-fire disappearing guns may be quickly elevated above armored turret when the 
submarine rises to the surface. 


vessel first go into the diving compartment. They close the 
door which shuts them off from other parts of the vessel. 
They then turn compressed air gradually into the compart- 
ment until the air pressure in the compartment equals the 
water pressure outside. If the depth is one hundred feet 


This view shows the diving compartment being used for the purpose of grappling 
for the electric cables controlling fields of submarine mines. Operating in this manner, 
the diving compartment becomes a veritable travelling diving-bell, and when the air 
pressure in the diving chamber is made to balance with the water pressure outside 
the diving door may be opened and yet the water will not. enter the working chamber. 

the air pressure in the compartment would need to be 43.4 
pounds per square inch; if the depth is two hundred feet, 
twice that, or 86.8 pounds per square inch, etc. When the 
air pressure in the compartment equals the water pressure 
outside, at any depth, the door in the bottom may be opened 



and the water will not rise up into the compartment, be- 
cause the air pressure keeps it out. Tests have been made 
which show that it is safe for divers to go out from 
compartments of this kind in depths up to two hundred 
and seventy-five feet. 

Dangers. — Years of painstaking development work have 
eliminated most of the dangers connected with the operation 
of submarines in times of peace. The experienced designers 
have learned the importance of having great submerged sta- 
bility, so that no modern craft is likely to make an unex- 
pected headfirst dive into the mud, hard sand, or rocks on 
the bottom. This was a common occurrence not many years 
ago. Another danger to be avoided is that of asphyxiation 
by the escape of noxious gases from the engines. The 
blowing up of the vessel by the ignition of hydrogen fumes 
from the battery is another risk to be guarded against. In 
the latest vessels the noxious gases from the engine are not 
permitted to escape into the engine-room ; gasolene is rapidly 
giving place to heavy-oil engines which do not use an 
explosive fuel, and the hydrogen gas given off during the 
charging of batteries is pumped overboard as rapidly as it 
is generated. Consequently modern submarines, when navi- 
gating on the surface, are as safe as any surface ship. In 
fact, they are safer, from the fact that they are so much 
more strongly built and that they are divided into compart- 
ments. Any one of these compartments could be filled by 
water in an accident and the remaining compartments would 
keep the ship afloat. In submerged peace-time navigation 
the dangers are those of collisions with surface vessels, 
uncharted rocks, or sunken ships. The danger of collisions 
with surface ships may be avoided by keeping below the 


oS o>S h m 

3 £3 S'pj u 


o B to o 3 r 

2 fc* v-3 


3" £''3 5" 


3 ^3 «• £, a* 

Co 3 S 2 TO p" 
Oip. 4 C J9. 
* H _ rt 3 

■ °" » S" S 


- ■ 3 ™ - ■ oo EL 

o TO ^ ■ ffi 



3-S - " H -t -■ 


p 3 ^. o a" 










tanks; 3 
Sun; 9, 
s quarte 
ing gear 
and ergi 
36, balla 






•0 p - * 


« 0- a » 1 

i 3 sj 3. co 

h O 2.3-d PT 

o p <£, o „. 


depth of keel of the deepest draft surface ship, when long 
under-water runs are being made, and always stopping 
machinery to listen for the sound of surface ships before 
rising to the surface. If running near the surface where 
periscopic vision is possible, constant vigilance must be 
maintained, as there are no rules of the road or right of 
way which may be claimed by the submarine commander, 
owing to the fact that the lookout on the surface craft, in 
all probability, cannot see his little periscope in time to 
avoid collision. 

How the Submarine Works. — Reference to the dia- 
grammatic view of a modern submarine will probably make 
clear the following explanation of the operation of a sub- 
marine. We will assume that our submarine leaves 
her own harbor with fuel, stores, and torpedoes on board, 
wireless and signal masts erected. She is bound to a 
station farther down the coast, but receives word by 
wireless that an enemy fleet has been seen approach- 
ing the coast in such a direction as to indicate an attack 
on New York. She receives instructions to return 
and. take up a station fifteen miles off Sandy Hook, the 
entrance to New York Harbor, and also that she is to 
cooperate with the smaller harbor-defense submarines that 
are permanently located in New York. She therefore puts 
back to the station designated. All deck fittings and lines 
are stowed except the ventilators and the deck wireless out- 
fit ; the latter is left standing so as to keep in touch with the 
scout ships and destroyers which are reporting the approach 
of the enemy. Shortly after arriving at her station, the 
commander notes smoke on the horizon and orders are given 
to " prepare to submerge." Each member of the crew then 
3 33 


proceeds to his particular task; the wireless masts and 
ventilators are quickly housed, and all hatches are closed 
and secured. The quartermaster and submerged-control 
man who controls the steering and hydroplane operating 
gear take their stations in the control department. The 
engines are uncoupled by means of the rapid operating 
clutch, the electric motor is coupled, the hydroplanes are 
unfolded, the valves are opened, and the word is passed to 
the commander, " All ready for submergence ! " All this 
is done in a modern vessel in less than two minutes. 

The command is then given : " Fill main ballast ! " Quick- 
opening valves are opened and the water rushes into the 
ballast tanks and superstructure at the rate of fifty or sixty 
tons per minute. The order is then given : " Trim for sub- 
mergence ! " Sufficient water is then admitted into the final 
adjustment and trim tank to give the desired buoyancy and 
trim, and the vessel is now ready to submerge on signal from 
the commander, who now takes his station at the periscope. 
The gunners have also taken their stations at the torpedo 
tubes to prepare to load the tubes as soon as the torpedoes 
already in the tubes are discharged. The whole time con- 
sumed from the time word to " prepare to submerge " until 
the vessel is running under water has probably not been over 
two or three minutes. In the meantime the enemy has been 
rapidly approaching and her superstructure is already above 
the horizon. The commander of the submarine notes that 
if the enemy holds its course it will be advantageous to 
change his position to intercept the oncoming fleet. He 
therefore gives word to submerge to the desired depth and 
gives the quartermaster the course, and the vessel proceeds, 
entirely submerged, to get nearer the enemy's line of ap- 



proach. The commander then brings his submarine to rest 
before extending his periscope above the surface. As soon as 
the enemy is found to be coming within range he manoeuvres 
his ship so that his torpedoes will bear the proper distance in 
advance of the ship he selects to destroy. To make a hit 
it is necessary to' fire in advance of the oncoming ship to 
allow for the time the torpedo takes to reach the point 
where the enemy will be. Range finders, torpedo directors, 
and rapid calculators enable the commander to calculate this 
to a nicety. If the distance is only a thousand or fifteen 
hundred yards, a hit is pretty certain to be made, but the 
greater the distance the less the chance of success and the 
greater the opportunity for error. 



One of the first queries which laymen usually direct 
at the submarine navigator is, " Are you not afraid that the 
boat will never come up ? " and other variants on the same 
theme. Most people are surprised and many are very scepti- 
cal when they are informed that there is no sensation at all 
connected with the act of going under water in a boat except 
that due to one's own imagination. The fact is that if one 
were going down inside the vessel in some of the modern 
submarines he could not readily tell whether the vessel was 
running on the surface or navigating in a submerged 

I remember the time when it was first decided to give 
a public exhibition of the Argonaut in 1897. Various 
newspapers were permitted to send their representatives to 
make a submerged trip in the vessel. Quite a large number 
of newspaper men were present, and among the reporters 
was one young lady representing a New York newspaper. 
This being the first time that the newspaper fraternity had 
been given the opportunity to make a submarine trip, specu- 
lation ran rife as to the outcome of the venture. So great 
a number of reporters came that all could not be permitted 
to board the vessel. Lots were therefore cast as to who 
should go. The lady claimed the privilege of her sex, and 
all agreed that she should be one of the party. When the 
lots were drawn, one of those who had drawn a lucky num- 



ber suddenly recalled that he was afflicted with a very dis- 
eased heart, and he did not feel it wise to go. Another 
discovered that his life insurance had just expired, and he 
gave up his opportunity to a friend. Finally the party was 
made up and the boat started away from the dock. They 
were all invited down into the cabin, where a general con- 
versation ensued as to the possibilities of submarine naviga- 
tion proving a success, upon the sensation of going under 
water, and other related subjects; I had given the signal to 
submerge, in the meantime, several minutes before they had 
finished visiting with each other. Soon one of them asked 
me when I expected to submerge. They were all greatly 
surprised when I informed them that we had already been 
under water for several minutes, and they would hardly 
believe it until I took them into the conning tower, where 
they could see the dark green of the water through the glass 
of the eye-ports. Two of the party promptly discovered 
that they had each a bottle of champagne concealed about 
their persons. It was their opinion that it was time to drink 
to the health of the lady and to the success of the Argonaut. 
After we had rummaged around and finally found an old 
rusty tin cup, this was done. 

All first experiences, however, have not been so pleasant 
as that of the Argonaut's trial. The submarine Hunley (page 
150) suffocated and drowned four different crews during her 
brief career. Twice she was found standing on end with 
her bow stuck in the mud in the bottom of the river, with a 
crew of nine men dead in her fore part, where they had 
been thrown when she dived to the bottom. In these two 
instances the men were suffocated, due to lack of air, as 
no water was found in the boat when she was raised. The 



gradual exhaustion of the air and final unconsciousness which 
overtook these brave volunteers can only be left to the 

When experimenting with the Argonaut, I received a visit 
from the late Col. Charles H. Hasker, of Richmond, Va. 
He had volunteered as one of the party to try the Hunley 
after she had suffocated her second crew. On the trial, for 
which Mr. Hasker volunteered, she started away from the 
dock in tow of the gunboat Ettawan by a line thrown over 
the hatch combing. She had been trimmed down so that 
she had very little freeboard, and as she gained headway 
she started to " shear," due to her peculiar flatiron-shaped 
bow. Lieutenant Payne, who was in command, attempted 
to throw the towline off the hatch combing, but got caught 
in the bight of the line. On his struggle to free himself he 
knocked a prop from under the tiller of the horizontal diving 
rudder, which had been set to hold the bow up. As soon 
as the prop was knocked out the tiller dropped down and 
inclined the horizontal rudder to dive, and the vessel dove 
with her hatches open. Lieutenant Payne freed himself, 
and Colonel Hasker managed to get partly out of one of the 
hatches before the vessel sank, but the inrushing force of the 
water closed the hatch door, which caught him by the calf 
of his leg, and he was carried with the vessel to the bottom 
in forty-two feet of water. However, he maintained his 
presence of mind, and when the vessel became full it bal- 
anced the pressure so that he could release himself from 
the hatch cover. He was a good swimmer and escaped to 
the surface. Two men escaped from the other hatch. The 
other five members of the crew were drowned in the vessel. 



Notwithstanding that this was the third time she had 
sunk and killed a number of men, she was again raised 
and a crew of nine other brave men was found to man her. 
Under command of Lieutenant Dixon, on the night of 
February 17, 1864, she was brought alongside of the United 
States battleship Housatonic and sank her, but Lieutenant 
Dixon and his crew went down with the Humley at the 
same time. Thus, in the various attempts to operate this 
vessel in a submerged condition, a total of thirty-two 
lives were lost. 

The New Orleans submarine boat was also built by 
the Confederates during the Civil War. A friend who 
took the photograph of this vessel told me the following 
story as related to him by a Southern gentleman who was 
familiar with the history of the boat. It appears that this 
submarine was the conception of a wealthy planter who 
owned a number of slaves. He thought that it would add 
considerable interest to the occasion of her launching if, 
when the vessel left the ways, she should disappear beneath 
the waves and make a short run beneath the surface before 
coming up. So he took two of his most intelligent slaves and 
instructed them how to hold the tiller when the vessel slid 
down the ways, and in which way to turn the propeller for a 
time after she began to lose her launched speed. He told 
them when they got ready to come up they should push the 
tiller down and the vessel would come to the surface to be 
towed ashore. 

A great crowd assembled to see this novel launching. 
" When things were all ready," said the old Southern gentle- 
man, "sure enough, them two niggers got into the boat 
and shut down the hatches ; and do you know, suh, that at 



that time them niggers was worth a thousand dollars apiece." 
Well, it seems that the boat slid down the ways and dis- 
appeared under the water just as had been planned. The 
crowd waited expectantly, but the vessel did not reappear. 
Eventually they got into boats and put out hooks and grap- 
pling lines, but she could not be found. The designer of 
the craft stated as his opinion that " he might have known 
better than to trust them pesky niggers anyway," and he 
was willing to bet that they had taken the opportunity to steal 
the vessel and run away. He asserted that very likely they 
would take the boat up North and give it to the Yankees, and 
that they could expect to hear of the " Yanks " using it to 
blow up some of their own (Confederate) ships. 

Her disappearance remained a mystery for a great many 
years — until long after the war closed, in fact, and the inci- 
dent had been forgotten. Years afterward, during some 
dredging operations to deepen the harbor, the dredge buckets 
one day got hold of something they could not lift. A diver 
was sent down to investigate, and he reported that there 
was some metal object buried in the mud which looked like a 
steam boiler. They set to work to raise this, and putting 
chains around it they lifted it on to the wharf. The old 
gentleman, in closing the narrative, remarked, "And do 
you know, suh, when they opened the hatch them two 
blamed niggers was still in thar, but they warn't wuth 
a damned cent." 

One amusing experience that I had occurred in the 
Chesapeake Bay in 1898, a few miles below the Potomac 
River. We were bound from Baltimore to Hampton Roads, 
and a part of the journey was made on the bottom of the 
bay. We found this exceedingly interesting, as we could 



sit in the divers' compartment and view, through the open 
divers' door, the various kinds of bottom we were passing 
over, rake up oysters and clams, catch crabs with a crab 
net, and amuse ourselves in trying to spear fish. 

The Argonaut at this time had a double pipe mast fifty 
feet in height, through one of which we got air to run our 
engines. The other was to provide for the exhaust. We 
carried a red flag on top of this mast as a warning to surface 
vessels to keep clear. One afternoon we had been sub- 
merged about four hours, running on the bottom in depths 
varying from twenty-five to forty-five feet; night coming 
on, we decided to come up and seek a harbor. When we 
came to the surface we noticed a " bugeye " (a small 
schooner) " hove to " about fifty yards to the leeward. 
I blew the centre tank, which brought our conning tower 
up out of the water, opened the hatch, and hailed the skipper 
of the bugeye to ask our location and the nearest harbor. 
He did not wait to answer, but as soon as I yelled he squared 
away " wing and wing " for the shore. As there was a 
stiff breeze blowing, it did not take him long to make it, 
and he ran his vessel right up on the sandy beach, where 
we saw him and another man — who composed the crew — 
clamber out over the bow and start to run inland as fast 
as they could go, leaving their boat without so much as 
lowering their sails. We finally located ourselves as just 
north of the mouth of the Rappahannock River, and saw that 
there was a good harbor very near, so we put in there for the 
night. After supper, as we were in need of fresh provisions, 
we went ashore and learned that there was a store a couple 
of miles down the peninsula. We walked down there and 
found the store full of natives who were obviously curious 



as to our identity and business. Finally the storekeeper 
gathered up his courage and asked us who we were. When 
he learned that we were down on an experimental cruise in 
the submarine boat Argonaut, he burst into laughter and 
told us that we had solved a mystery which had stirred up 
the entire community. He then explained that just about 
dark one of his neighbors, who never had. been known to 
drink and whose reputation for veracity was excellent, had 
rushed into the store, followed by his mate. Both were 
pale from fright, and sank on the porch completely ex- 
hausted. They then related a weird tale of seeing a red 
flag moving down the bay against the current on a buoy. 
When they went alongside of it they heard a " pun>puff " 
like a locomotive — that was the exhaust from our engine 
coming up out of the pipe — and, furthermore, they stated 
that they had smelt sulphur distinctly. Just then, they 
claimed, the buoy commenced to rise up and a smokestack — 
our conning tower — came up out of the water and " out 
stepped the devil " — myself, who at that time had on a 
rather brilliant red cap. Then they had " moseyed " for 
shore as fast as they could go. The storekeeper said that 
they had put the honorable captain to bed, and implied that 
he would be " right smart mad " when he learned how he 
had deceived himself. We went back to our boat and got 
an early start in the morning, as we did not know but that 
the " guying " of his neighbors might " rile " the captain 
considerably — and these Virginians are usually pretty good 
rifle shots. 

One of the greatest dangers in submarine navigation is 
that of being run down by surface vessels when the sub- 
marine comes to the surface after a deep submergence. I 



mean by a deep submergence when the vessel goes down so 
far that the water covers the top of her periscope and the 
commander gets out of touch with surface vessels. All 
submarine commanders have probably had narrow escapes 
from this danger; it is one of the chances that go with 
the business. I myself have had several very close calls. 
The first was with the Protector manoeuvring in rough 
weather in Long Island Sound off Bridgeport in 1903. The 
weather was exceedingly rough, the wind blowing a half- 
gale and blowing the spume from the white-caps into spray. 
Some of our directors were in a large towboat at anchor 
and we were manoeuvring in their vicinity, running back 
and forth, submerging, etc., so that they might observe how 
steadily she could run in a rough sea. Finally, upon sub- 
merging, we observed a sloop in distress ; part of her rig- 
ging had been carried away, and she was half full of water. 
The sea had broken the cabin windows and she was on the 
verge of sinking. We observed this through the periscope, 
so we came up and got a line to her and took her into Bridge- 
port. There were several young men aboard her, and when 
they first saw us standing on our conning tower they thought 
we also had been wrecked and were on top of a buoy. 

As the Protector had functioned beautifully and we had 
in addition saved a shipwrecked crew, I felt quite proud of 
the day's performance, and was greatly surprised, therefore, 
when I reported to the directors, who had preceded us into 
the harbor, to have one of them " call me down " for taking 
such a foolhardy chance in submerging just in front of the 
steamer Bridgeport. He was astonished when I told him 
that I had never seen the steamer, and then he informed me 
that I had submerged just under her bow, and as she was 



going very fast they all expected us to be hit. The white- 
caps and spray had prevented us from seeing the steamer, 
as our periscope was a short one and only gave us intermit- 
tent views in the rough water. I was curious to learn 
whether the captain of the steamer had seen us, but I was 
told by him that he had not. The rough water had pre- 
vented the captain from seeing the wake of our periscope, 
just as it had made it impossible for us to catch a sight of 
his vessel. 

At another time of close escape I was in the channel 
leading from the Gulf of Finland into Cronstadt, Russia. 

We were requested to conduct some manoeuvres for the 
purpose of familiarizing the Russian officers and crew with 
the method of handling the boat. Admiral Rodjevensky's 
fleet was outfitting off Cronstadt, preparing to start for the 
Orient. As the officers of the battle squadron had never 
seen a submarine in operation, we were requested to con- 
duct our manoeuvres in their vicinity. One of the high 
Russian admirals, whom I afterward met at the officers' club 
in Cronstadt, said to me : " Mr. Lake, I do not like your 
submarine boat. One can never tell where it is going to 
bob up, and I think if you were my enemy I should slip my 
anchor and run." After manoeuvring around the fleet at 
anchor we took a run out in the channel. Captain Alexander 
Gadd, the officer who was to command the Protector, was 
in the sighting hood. Our periscope had gone " blind " 
because one of the crew did not make up a joint properly. 
Water had entered and dropped on the lower prism, which 
destroyed our ability to see. We were anxious, however, 
to continue our manoeuvres, and Captain Gadd had volun- 
teered to " con " the vessel from the sighting hood and 



give us our steering directions. We were thus able to 
make submergences of short duration. In leaving the port 
we appeared to have a clear passageway down the channel. 
After running for a few minutes we brought the sighting 
hood above the surface, upon which Captain Gadd became 
very much excited and cried out in German — which I had 
no difficulty in understanding — that a big ship was coming 
right toward us. I was puzzled to know what to do, so I 
pulled the commander away from the sighting hood, got a 
look myself, and discovered a big white ship headed directly 
for us. The only thing to do under the circumstances was to 
blow the centre tank, give the signal to back up, and to blow 
our whistle, as there was hardly sufficient time to turn out 
of our course. Blowing the centre tank relieved us very 
quickly of sufficient water to bring the conning tower above 
the surface. Fortunately we were observed, and both ves- 
sels reversed and went full speed astern, thus preventing 
a collision which only could have been disastrous to us, be- 
cause, as there was not sufficient depth of water in the chan- 
nel to permit the large ship to pass over us, the small boat 
would have been crushed like an egg-shell. By looking at the 
chart I saw that we had sufficient water on either side of the 
main channel to carry on our work of instructing the crew, so 
I instructed the quartermaster, in English, to change his 
course. Captain Gadd, not understanding English, was not 
aware that I had changed the course, and I did not know 
that mines had been planted for the defense of Cronstadt and 
Admiral Rodjevensky's fleet, so the next time we came to the 
surface Captain Gadd once more became very much excited, 
finally making me understand that we were in a mine field. 
It seems that the Russians feared the Japanese might by 



hook or crook, during the night or at a time of fog, which 
at that time of the year occurred frequently, get hold of 
some vessel, equip her with torpedoes, and make a raid on 
the fleet at anchor. Consequently they had mined all except 
the principal channel, which could be watched. We imme- 
diately stopped the Protector, blew tanks, and proceeded 
with caution back to the main channel and returned to 
Cronstadt. I felt that we had had sufficient manoeuvres 
for that day at least. 

Another experience which came very close to a tragedy 
was brought about by the spirit of mischief of one of the 
trial officers while conducting the official trials of the Pro- 
tector in the Gulf of Finland. One of the trial conditions 
set by the Russian Government was that we were to be 
able to run the Protector under her engine with her decks 
submerged and conning tower awash, I standing in the open 
hatchway with the Protector running under these con- 
ditions, ready for instant submergence, her conning tower 
being held above the surface by setting her hydroplanes 
up. By pulling the hatch cover down and inclining the 
hydroplanes downward the vessel could be almost in- 
stantly submerged — submergence not occupying over fif- 
teen seconds. I had so much confidence in the safety 
of the Protector running in this condition that I did not 
hesitate to leave the depth-control mechanism for 
considerable periods of time. 

During this official trial in the Gulf of Finland we ran 
through a school of small fish, and, leaving the hydroplane 
control gear, I went out upon the deck of the conning tower 
and watched the fish, which could be plainly seen as the 
Protector passed through them. At this time there was 



about three feet of water over the decks, and the deck of 
the conning tower was about a foot or eighteen inches out 
of the water. All at once the Protector started to go down. 
I jumped down inside the conning tower, pulling the hatch 
after me, and I am free to confess that my hair stood on 
end. I then observed that the Protector had gone back 
to her normal condition, and saw at the same time that the 
senior Russian officer, a very tall man who had to stand in 
a stooping position in the conning tower, was shaking with 
laughter. Captain Gadd then explained to me that the other 
officer — I shall not mention his name, because he is now 
a high admiral — had " set " the hydroplanes a little down 
for the purpose of seeing if he could frighten me. He 
frightened me all right, and I assure you that I never ran 
the Protector afterward in that condition, because I came 
to the conclusion that, while it might be possible to make a 
submarine fool-proof, one could never make reasonable cal- 
culations which would eliminate danger from the actions of 
the practical joker. It was only a few weeks after this 
incident that I read the account of the A-8, one of the diving 
type of boats in the British Navy, making the fatal dive when 
running on the surface with the hatch open, even though she 
had, according to the testimony of the officer, who was stand- 
ing on the top of the conning tower at the time she went 
down — and drowned her crew — as much as six or eight tons 
reserve of buoyancy. 

Some of the early boats of the diving type were 
fitted with fixed periscopes through which one could see 
in one direction only, and that straight ahead, and with a 
limited field of vision. In order to get a complete view of 
the horizon it was therefore necessary for the commander 



of a vessel equipped in this way to turn the boat completely 
around. This was the cause of the first serious accident 
and loss of life in the British submarines of the A type. 
The A- 1, running in the English Channel with her periscope 
extended above the surface, did not see a steamer following 
her at a speed exceeding her own ; the lookout of the steamer 
did not see the periscope, and ran the A-i down, drowning 
her entire crew. The foolishness of having a periscope that 
could see in one direction only was demonstrated by some 
of the officers in the Austrian Navy. Our company had 
built the first two boats for the Austrian Government, U-i 
and U-2. Another type of boat had been built later which 
had only a fixed periscope of the type described. One day, 
when this submarine was running along with her periscope 
above the surface, which gave her commander no vision 
back of him, some officers approached in a speedy little 
launch and left their cards tied to the periscope without the 
knowledge of the commander of the submerged vessel. 
This demonstrated perfectly that it is essential, both in war 
and peace times, for the commander of the submarine to 
know what is going on in his vicinity on the surface. With 
the noise of machinery running it was difficult in the early 
boats for the commander to tell whether there was any 
other power boat in the vicinity of the submarine. That 
fact led to the practice of running mostly with the periscope 
above the surface, and eventually to the introduction of two 
periscopes, one to con the course of the ship and the other 
to keep watch of the surrounding water to see that other 
ships do not approach the submarine unawares. That is 
now the usual practice in peace-time manoeuvres. 



At Hampton Roads, on one occasion, after a submarine 
run, we came up urider a small launch and picked her up 
bodily on the deck. We had not seen the boat until we heard 
her bump against the conning tower and heard some of the 
ladies scream. We submerged quickly and lowered them 
into the water again. Another time we came up under a 
large barge, but all the damage incurred was a broken 
flagstaff. The best mode of procedure at such times is to 
bring the vessel to rest while submerged and stop all 
machinery, then listen for the sound of the machinery of 
surface vessels. These noises can be heard for a consider- 
able distance under water. If no sound is heard it is then 
safe to come up. Even in this case there is some possibility 
of coming up under or just in front of a sailing vessel. One 
has to take some chances, and I do not consider this taking 
any greater chance than is taken by the navigator of a 
surface vessel in running in a fog or in a snow storm. 

The question of air supply was at one time one of the 
most difficult problems to solve on paper with which early 
experimenters with submarines had to contend. There was 
no exception in my case. I thought it would be possible 
to remain submerged only a short time unless I provided 
some sort of apparatus to extract the carbonic acid gas 
and restore oxygen to the air after breathing and exhaling 
the air in an enclosed space like a submerged vessel. I 
took up the question with various physicians and with a 
professor of physiology at Johns Hopkins University, and, 
according to their information and text-books, it would be 
a very difficult matter to carry sufficient air to remain sub- 
merged without change of air except for a very short time. 
Their text-books stated the quantity of free air that should 
4 49 


be allowed per individual. This varied from fifteen hundred 
to three thousand cubic feet of air per individual per hour. 
It would be impossible to provide this amount of air in a 
submarine. What it was essential to discover was how little 
air a man could live on without suffering ill effects. I then 
built a box containing twenty-seven cubic feet of air space. 
I entered this and was hermetically sealed within it. At 
fifteen-minute intervals I lighted matches to note how freely 
they would burn. At the expiration of three-quarters of an 
hour the matches still burned brilliantly at the top of the 
box, but went out when lowered to about the level of my 
waist. This indicated that about one-half of the oxygen 
had been consumed and converted into carbonic acid gas. I 
was surprised to find how distinctly the line was drawn 
between the air containing oxygen and that containing the 
heavier carbonic acid gas. I concluded from this experiment 
that from fifteen to twenty cubic feet of air per individual 
per hour was sufficient to maintain life for short periods of 
time without injury. 

On completing the Argonaut in 1897 we amplified these 
experiments, five men remaining hermetically sealed in the 
Argonaut for a period of five hours without admitting 
any air from our air storage tanks, and later on in the Pro- 
tector eight men remained submerged for twentyrfour hours, 
no fresh air being admitted during the first twenty hours. 
As the volume of air space in the Protector was about three 
thousand cubic feet, this averaged about eighteen cubic feet 
per man per hour. Without the definite knowledge of my 
previous box experiment it is very doubtful if the crew 
would have consented to remain submerged so long without 
renewing the air supply, so great is the effect of imagination. 



In our first test to determine a practical time of sub- 
mergence in 1897 we had been submerged for nearly two 
hours when I noticed some members of the crew showing 
signs of distress. After a time they got together in the 
after part of the boat and appointed a spokesman, who 
came to me and asked if I had not noticed that breathing 
had become very difficult. They urged that we should go up 
immediately. By this time two of the men were breathing 
with evident exertion, and beads of perspiration were on 
their faces. I told them they were suffering from imagina- 
tion, and explained my experiment with the box. I then 
took a candle and proved to them that it burned freely in 
all parts of the boat. We measured the height of the candle 
flame at the floor of the boat and found it one and five- 
eighths inches high. In the twenty-four hours' test on the 
Protector the men became frightened in the same way, but 
after an explanation had been made and the candle demon- 
stration had been shown them they lost their fear and in a 
few minutes all were breathing as normally as ever. 

I have always had some little sympathy for the sensations 
or fears which those without a knowledge of natural physics 
might experience on going down into the water ; but I have 
had little sympathy for those who by their education should 
know and understand the principles of submarine navigation, 
when operating with a properly designed boat with an 
experienced crew. 

Now, one of the features which the Argonaut possessed, 
which was new in its application to submarine boats at that 
time, was the use of a diving compartment and air-lock 
connected with the main hull of the vessel, which would 
permit divers to leave the vessel when submerged by opening 



a door in the bottom of this diving compartment after first 
filling the compartment with compressed air corresponding 
to the pressure of the water outside of the vessel, which 
varies in accordance with the depth of submergence. 

Every schoolboy is taught the principle of the diving 
bell, which can be illustrated by the use of a tumbler or glass. 
If a tumbler is turned upside down and forced into water, 
the water will not rise to fill the tumbler, owing to the fact 
that the air, being the lighter, will remain in the tumbler 
and the water will simply rise, compressing the air to the 
same pressure per square inch as the pressure surrounding 
it. Now if you push a tumbler down into the water a 
distance of thirty-four feet the tumbler would be about one- 
half full of water and one-half full of air, which corresponds 
to one atmosphere in pressure. Now if an additional tumbler 
full of air was compressed to the same pressure and released 
in that tumbler it would force the water out, and there 
would be a double volume, or two atmospheres of air, in the 
tumbler, or just twice what there would be on the surface 
and under normal atmospheric pressure. This is the prin- 
ciple on which the diving compartment in the Lake type 
boat operates, it being only necessary to admit air into the 
diving compartment until the pressure equals the outside 
water pressure ; then a door opening outwardly from the 
bottom may be opened to permit ready egress or ingress, 
and so long as the air pressure is maintained no water will 
rise in the boat. 

A professor of physics " in the University of Pennsyl- 
vania visited the Argonaut in Baltimore during some early 
experiments with her, and in discussing the features of the 
diving compartment with which, from his position as a 



professor of natural physics, he should have been entirely 
familiar, expressed some doubt as to its practicability. He 
said he understood the theory of it all right, but thought 
there might be some difficulty in carrying it out in a practical 
way as I had explained. I invited him into the diving com- 
partment and told him that I would submerge the boat 
and open the door for him for his benefit, so that he could 
explain to his students that he had actually seen it done. 
He turned pale and said, " Oh, no ; I would not put you to 
that trouble for the world " ; but by that time I had the 
heavy iron door closed between the diving compartment and 
the main hull, and had already started to raise the pressure 
of the air in the compartment, and assured him that it was 
not the least trouble in the world ; on the contrary, it was a 
great pleasure. By this time beads of perspiration were 
standing on his face. When one undergoes air pressure for 
the first time considerable pain is ofttimes experienced in 
the ears, due to the pressure on the Eustachian tubes and 
ear-drums not becoming equalized. To equalize this pressure 
it is necessary for divers or those undergoing pressure to go 
through the movement of swallowing, which has a tendency 
to relieve the unequal pressure and stop the pain. I noticed 
that the professor was experiencing quite a little pain and 
consequently told him to swallow, and it was really amusing 
to see the rapidity with which he worked his " Adam's 
apple " up and down. He then asked if there was any 
danger. I answered him that there was none, except to 
those who were troubled with heart-disease. He immedi- 
ately put his hand up over his heart and said, " Well, my 
heart is quite seriously affected," but by that time we had 
secured the necessary pressure to enable me to open the 



diving door at the bottom, so I released the " locking dogs " 
and allowed the door to open, and when he saw the water did 
not come in, his face cleared and he said, " Well, you 
know I never, would have believed it if I had not seen 
it," and then he added that he would not have missed 
seeing it for the world. 

Another interesting incident in connection with under- 
going pressure occurred while at Hampton Roads, Va. 
One day I received a visit from a professor of mathematics 
and his wife at the Hampton Institute, each of whom held a 
professorship in the college. They stated that the Argonaut 
had been discussed before the faculty and that they would 
like very much to go down in her and see the diving door 
opened, which I was very glad to show them. Just previous 
to going into the diving compartment Professor S ex- 
plained to me that his wife was deaf in one ear, that she 
had been under a physician's care for about two years, and 
he wanted to know if undergoing pressure was likely to 
have an injurious effect upon her. Not being a physician 
or knowing what might occur, I advised against her under- 
going pressure ; but she insisted on going into the compart- 
ment, promising that if she felt any ill effect from the air 
pressure she would tell me and I could let her out. I was 
reluctant to have her go in, and when we entered the com- 
partment I allowed the air to come in very slowly, in the 
meantime giving a general description of the vessel, and 
occupying as long a time in the procedure as possible. I 
noticed almost at once that she was in pain. Although she 
turned her back to me, I could tell by her clenched jaws 
and hands that she was probably suffering agony. I then 
stopped the pressure and suggested to the professor that he 



had better let his wife go out, but through clenched teeth 
she still protested, " No, go ahead ; I can stand it ! " Finally 
we got the pressure on and opened the door, but, while the 
professor seemed delighted, his wife made no remark. She 
simply stood with her hands clenched and I was afraid she 
was going to faint. Then all at once she screamed ; but im- 
mediately after her face lighted up with a smile and she ex- 
claimed, " It is all gone ! " When she came out of the com- 
partment, after the experiment was over, I noticed her put 
her hand up to one ear, and she said to her husband, " Do 
you know, I can hear as plainly out of that ear as I ever 

could ! " About a year afterward I saw Professor S 

and he told me that apparently the experiment had cured his 
wife of deafness where physicians had failed to help her; 
that to date it had never returned, and that she could hear 
as well as she had ever heard. In discussing this matter 
with an ear specialist some time afterward, he explained 
to me that the lady had probably been suffering with a 
disease which caused the small bones connected with the 
ear-drum to freeze fast, so that the ear-drum did not vibrate. 
He stated that it is a very common cause of deafness and 
can seldom be cured; that the bringing of the uneven 
pressure on the Eustachian tube or other parts had 
broken away the secretion which had cemented these small 
bones together and permitted the ear-drum to vibrate as it 
should, and probably that was the only way in which she 
could have been helped. I am publishing this incident in the 
hope that it may lead to the construction of scientific appa- 
ratus for the cure of deafness in cases where the deafness 
is caused by trouble similar to that of the professor's wife. 
After our experiments with the Argonaut in the Chesa- 



peake Bay and on the Atlantic coast, she was enlarged and 
otherwise improved and in the winter of 1899 I brought her 
to Bridgeport, Connecticut, which offered excellent harbor 
conveniences and deep water, as well as providing the 
necessary manufacturing facilities for continuing my 
experimental work. 

While there the request was made of me to let some of 
the newspaper people and some prominent men of the town 
witness her trials; I therefore invited them to take a trip 
out into the Sound. I remember that we extended in all 
twenty-eight invitations to the Mayor, to the press, and to 
some other prominent citizens, expecting that perhaps three 
or four of the number would accept. Very much to my 
surprise, twenty-nine appeared, and only one of those who 
had received the invitation failed to come, while two others 
brought their friends with them. Among the number was 
John J. Fisher, at. that time quite a noted singer for the 
American Graphophone Company. I had planned to cook 
and serve a dinner for the party on board, and we intended 
to be back about two o'clock in the afternoon, but when 
we got out on the bottom of the Sound all the different mem- 
bers of the party wanted to see the bottom, so we travelled 
out over some oyster beds and clam beds and I opened the 
diving door and let the party all see the bottom of the Sound 
and pick up clams and " jingle " shells, in depths varying 
from twenty-four to thirty-odd feet, while running along the 
bottom. The air-lock was small and we could take only 
two at a time through it into the diving compartment. In 
the meantime a meal had been cooked for the others and 
served. Mr. Fisher amused the company by singing 



" Rocked in the Cradle of the Deep " and other songs 
appropriate to the occasion. 

We did not arrive at Bridgeport until after four o'clock, 
and then found the wharf black with an excited populace, 
largely composed of friends of those who had taken the trip. 
Tugboats had been engaged, and the editor of one of the 
afternoon papers gave me a very severe " dressing down " 
for having kept the party out so long, as the whole city was 
excited and every one feared that we had been lost. The 
afternoon editions of the papers had all been held up await- 
ing our return, and the editor of the paper in question 
informed me that they were just telegraphing New York 
for a wrecking outfit to come and raise us, as they had sent 
a tugboat out and the captain had reported that we were 
submerged off Stratford Point Light and that our red flag, 
which extended from the top of the mast, was above water, 
but that we were not moving at that time and hence they 
thought that all hands must have perished. 

Working under water from a submarine boat is very 
interesting work. The Argonaut was built with the idea 
of demonstrating the practicability of conducting explora- 
tions under water, locating and recovering beds of shellfish, 
in addition to locating and recovering wrecks and their 
cargoes. This line of work is the most interesting of the 
submarine work in which I have been engaged, and offers, 
in my judgment, great opportunities for the benefit of the 
human race. A submarine boat is a rather expensive craft, 
however, for conducting such operations, and there are cer- 
tain disadvantages in operating around wrecks in a sub- 
marine without any surface connections, as there is always 
a possibility of the vessel becoming entangled in the wreck- 



age of the sunken ship. I remember in one case we had 
located a sunken wreck and had gone down alongside of her 
with the Argonaut. This sunken wreck had an overhanging 
guard and was quite strongly built. The tide carried the 
Argonaut up against the side of the sunken wreck, and after 
our divers had come in and made their report in regard 
to her we attempted to come up to the surface, but the 
Argonaut could not come up, because the current had car- 
ried her in under the guard, and it was necessary for us to 
wait until the tide turned to enable us to get away from the 

At another time we were operating alongside of a wreck 
in which we were demonstrating the practicability of remov- 
ing cargo from the sunken wreck to a small experimental 
cargo or freight-carrying submarine. This freight-carrying 
submarine was practically a tank, and was built purely for 
demonstrating purposes. It was nine feet in diameter and 
twenty-five feet long, with conical ends (see illustration, 
page 278). It had wheels underneath so that it could be 
towed on the bottom by the Argonaut. The Argonaut had 
gone down alongside of a sunken wreck loaded with coal, 
with the freight submarine alongside opposite to the wreck. 
The Argonaut had a centrifugal wrecking pump mounted on 
her deck, driven by a shaft extending through a stuffing box, 
and to fill the little cargo-carrying submarine it was necessary 
for the diver only to place the suction pipe connected with 
the wrecking pump into the sunken coal barge and the dis- 
charge pipe into the hatch of the cargo submarine, start the 
pump, and transfer the coal from the sunken wreck to the 
cargo-carrying submarine. We made several successful 
demonstrations of this, and actually transferred fifteen tons 



of coal from the sunken wreck to the cargo submarine with 
a six-inch pump in nine minutes. It was then necessary for 
the diver only to close the hatch of the freight-carrying sub- 
marine, admitting compressed air into the interior which 
blew the water out through check valves in the bottom of 
the freight submarine, and then the freight submarine would 
come to the surface with her cargo, which could be towed 
into port on the surface by surface tugboats. One day, 
when down on the bottom repeating this experiment, the 
diver came back into the diving compartment and said that 
he wanted the Argonaut moved ahead about twenty feet. 
The divers, having become familiar with the operation at this 
time, were a little careless. There were three of us in the 
diving compartment at the time, and it was " up to me " to 
go back into the machinery compartment and move the boat 
forward twenty feet ; we could tell the distance by the revo- 
lutions of her wheels over the bottom. I told them to close 
the bottom diving door, and when I left the diving compart- 
ment they were in the act of doing so. As I looked back 
through the lookout window in the air-lock door I saw that 
the diver had taken off his helmet and was smoking his 
pipe — this being the first thing a diver always wants to do 
when coming out of the water. I then started to move the 
boat, assuming that the diving door was closed, but the boat 
did not move. Having been at rest there for some time, I 
assumed that she had probably taken in through a leaky 
valve some additional water, and I decided that it was neces- 
sary to lighten her somewhat, so I called on the telephone 
and asked them if everything was all right in the diving 
compartment and they replied that it was. I then pumped 
and tried her again; still she did not move, so I pumped 



out a little more from the forward end of the boat for the 
purpose of lightening her burden some more. All at once 
she left the bottom with a rapid rush and ascended to the 
surface. There was something which held her down, I do 
not know what it was, but it was not released until we had 
given her a partial buoyancy of perhaps two or three tons. 
I submerged her again quickly and went back through the 
air-lock into the diving compartment and then observed that 
the diver was taking off his diving suit; he was pale and 
appeared to be very much excited. I asked his helper, who 
was laughing, what the matter was. To this question the 
diver himself replied, " I will tell you a funny story when 
we get ashore." The tender then explained to me that 
they had not closed the door entirely, but had left it open 
about four inches, and when the boat rose, the air, rushing 
out of the compartment with a noise like a thousand loco- 
motive whistles, had scared Captain S half to death. 

The tender had been with me in the diving compartment once 
before when a similar accident occurred and consequently 
he was used to it. As soon as we got alongside of the dock 
the diver referred to jumped ashore and said, " The funny 
story I am going to tell you is this : I will never set foot in 

your d boat again." 

Another amusing situation occurred on the Argonaut 
which might have proved very serious. After we had com- 
pleted our experiments with the Argonaut and started to 
build the Protector, not having any immediate use for her, 
the Argonaut was anchored in the river off the place where 
we were conducting our building operations. Our engineer, 

W , received a visit one day from a friend of his who 

had visited Bridgeport on his wedding trip and had left his 



wife in the depot between trains while he ran up to see his 
old friend, our chief engineer. The chief took him out on 
board the Argonaut to show him through, and in explaining 
the boat to him the two men went into the diving compart- 
ment. Now the Argonaut had been shut up for some 
months, but the chief found that there was still sufficient 
air in the air tanks to enable him to admit the air into the 
diving compartment and show his friend how the door could 
be opened. The door, which opened downward, was quite 
heavy, weighing something over four hundred pounds, and 
was raised by block and tackle. He got the air pressure on 
all right and opened the door ; the boat was near the bottom, 
and when the door opened downward the lower end of it 
settled into the mud. In attempting to lift it again the rope, 
which had become rotten, due to dampness, broke, and 
consequently he could not lift the door. In the meantime 
the tide was falling and the diving door was forced farther 
into the mud. As no one at the works knew that the chief 
had gone on board the Argonaut, when night came everybody 
went home and it was not until eleven o'clock that night that 
the watchman went down to the end of the pier and heard 
some one tapping on the Argonaut. Thinking this somewhat 
strange, he got into a boat and rowed out alongside. He 
still heard the tapping at regular intervals, and was aston- 
ished to see a small boat alongside ; then he struck the Argo- 
naut with his oar and immediately got a rapid tattoo in re- 
sponse. Feeling sure now that somebody in distress must 
be down in the Argonaut, he got a lantern, went down inside 
the boat and forward to the diving compartment. There, 
on the other side of the lookout window, he saw the face 
of the engineer. The chief had made the mistake of closing 



the. forward air-lock door, so that when he got the pressure 
on in the diving compartment and the diving door open he 
could not close it again. There was no way for him to relieve 
the pressure and open the air-lock door without flooding 
the whole boat ; while, had he closed the first or inner door 
he could have gone through into the air-lock, closing and 
securing the forward door behind him. He could then have 
released the air from the air-lock and escaped, in the mean- 
time leaving the pressure on in the diver's compartment and 
the divers' door open. When the watchman appeared the 
chief wrote a note and put it up to the window, instructing 
the watchman to close the inner air-lock door. This was 
done, and then he and his friend got out. It was nearly 
midnight when they were released; and, feeling a natural 
curiosity in the circumstances, I asked the chief if his friend 
found his bride still waiting for him at the station. He 
replied that after they had managed to get out his visitor 
would not even speak to him, and that he had never heard 
from him since the occurrence. 

I have described above how I ran grave risks while navi- 
gating in Russian waters, and it was in connection with the 
construction and delivery of these same boats for the 
Russian Government that I met with still other interesting 

At the time of the Russo-Japanese War the Protector 
was being tried out in Long Island Sound, and representa- 
tives of both warring countries sent officers to witness her 
perform and to make propositions for her purchase. Russia 
secured her, however, and it then became a problem to get 
her out of the country without evading the neutrality laws. 
We discovered that we were being watched by spies, and 


3«* -# 1 


had reason to believe that if it became known that Russia 
had purchased her, and that we were planning to take her 
out of the country, an injunction would be secured against 
us. We had secured high legal advice that if she were 
shipped incomplete we would not be evading the United 
States laws, but that she might, notwithstanding this pre- 
caution, be captured on the high seas or held in this country 
by injunction as contraband. We therefore removed her 
battery and sent it to New York, ostensibly for repairs ; from 
there it was later shipped to Russia via steamer. The agents 
of the Russian Government then chartered the steamer 
Fortuna to carry a cargo of coal from Norfolk, Va., to 
Libau, Russia. While loading coal, heavy timbers to form 
a cradle on the deck were also shipped on board, and while 
coming up the coast this cradle was assembled and the 
Fortuna 's decks strengthened sufficiently to carry the Pro- 
tector, which had been stripped down to about one hundred 
and thirty tons by the removal of her battery. The plan 
was that the Fortuna should come into Sandy Hook at mid- 
night on Saturday and proceed to Prince's Bay, a cove back 
of Staten Island. There the Protector was to be picked up 
by the powerful floating derrick, the Monarch, and the 
Fortuna, with the Protector on her deck, was then to get 
outside of Sandy Hook before daylight and pass the three- 
mile limit on Sunday morning. None of my crew was in 
the secret that an effort was to be made to get the Protector 
out of the country before legal proceedings could be taken 
to prevent her going ; and, as she had no batteries on board, 
they were much surprised to be informed on Saturday — 
the morning of the day set to make the attempt — that they 
were to bring their suitcases and a change of clothing with 



them, as I was going to give the Protector a trial under her 
engines alone and we might be away a day or two. When 
we left Bridgeport I headed the Protector away from New 
York, and our men thought we were bound for Newport, but 
as soon as we got out of sight of the shore, in which we were 
assisted by a fog, I ran over under the Long Island shore 
and headed for New York. We remained in hiding during 
the day and passed through Hell Gate, the entrance into the 
East River, at about nine o'clock, and reached Prince's Bay 
according to schedule; but the Fortuna did not appear 
until eight o'clock on Sunday morning. Fortunately for the 
enterprise, a very heavy rainstorm came up and shut out all 
view of us from the shore until the Protector had been loaded 
and was out to sea. Before she sailed I called my crew 
together and told them that the Protector had been sold to 
a foreign country, and that, although I could not tell them 
to whom or to what port she was bound, I should like some 
of them to go with me to assist me in training the foreign 
crew to operate her. Every man volunteered and was 
anxious to go, so I selected those I wanted and they took their 
suitcases on board the Fortuna. It was seven years before 
some of these men returned to America. 

The Protector was covered with canvas and she was 
sighted but once on her way across. To prevent suspicion I 
returned to Bridgeport for a few days and then took the 
fast steamer Kaiser Wilhelm II to Cherbourg and was met 
by the Russian Ambassador in Paris, who gave me Russian 
passports under the assumed name of Elwood Simons, as the 
Russian Government did not wish it to become known that 
it had purchased the Protector or that the builder was 
coming to Russia to instruct their officers and men in the 



use of submarines. This travelling about under an assumed 
name brought about some amusing complications and 
experiences later. 

I arrived at Libau by train the morning the Fortuna 
and Protector arrived off that port, but the government had 
decided to send her on to Cronstadt, the principal naval 
station and defense of St. Petersburg, now called Petrograd, 
so orders were given accordingly. On the way up the Baltic 
the coverings over the Protector had been removed, and a 
Russian torpedo boat, seeing her, made off at full speed, 
soon to return with another torpedo boat and a larger gun- 
boat and beginning to fire blank shots for the Fortuna to 
stop. The captain did not stop quickly enough, and then 
they fired solid shot just in front of the Fortuna's bow and 
she was forced to stop. It developed that one of the officers 
had recognized the Protector from having seen the pictures 
of her, but, not knowing that she had been bought by his 
own government, suspected that the Japanese Government 
had purchased her, and that she would probably be launched 
somewhere in the Baltic and attack the Russian fleet. He 
then sent an armed prize crew on board the Fortuna to take 
her into Cronstadt as a prize — which incidentally was where 
she was bound, anyhow. 

On arriving at Cronstadt we were met by a number 
of officers of the Russian Navy, among whom were Captain 
Becklemechief and Chief Constructor Bubonoff, who were 
the joint designers of the Russian submarine Delphine, 
which had recently been completed. While sitting in the 
Fortuna's cabin exchanging congratulations upon the safe 
arrival of the Protector a telegram was brought in to Captain 
Becklemechief which, I noticed, caused his hitherto cheerful 
5 65 


face to assume a grave aspect. He handed it to Constructor 
Bubonoff with a word in Russian which I could not under- 
stand. A little later, on our way to Petrograd, he informed 
me that the Delphine had sunk and drowned twenty-three 
officers and men, a number of whom were in training to be 
transferred to the Protector to make up her crew upon her 
arrival. We passed her on our way into Petrograd. She 
lay just off the Baltic works dock, and divers were then 
recovering the bodies. 

It appears that thirty-five men, all told, were on board, 
and that her conning tower hatch was closed by a lever 
arm connected to a nut which travelled on a threaded shaft' 
operated from down inside the vessel, and it is believed that 
the officer in command gave the order to fill certain tanks 
which were usually filled previous to closing the hatch, not 
taking into consideration the fact that there was so much 
more weight on board than usual, due to so many more men — 
eight being the usual crew — and at the same time giving 
the order to close the hatch. Just then a steamer came by 
and a sea broke into the hatch, which frightened one of the 
men so that he tried to get out, and succeeded in getting 
one shoulder and his head out of the hatch. His body pre- 
vented the man down below from closing the hatch before 
the vessel had sunk with all hands ; but after she sank either 
the man at the closing mechanism or some one else must 
have had sufficient presence of mind to open the hatch again, 
as twelve of the men were carried up out of the boat, pre- 
sumably by the air bubbles which must escape from any 
enclosed airtight vessel before it can become entirely filled 
with water. This phenomenon may be observed by taking 
a bottle and forcing it down under water ; the water will rush 


Russian submarine, which drowned 23 of her crew the day the author arrived at Cronstadt. 


in and compress the air, and then the compressed air will 
overcome the pressure of the incoming water and rush out, 
carrying some of the water with it. Two of these men and 
Captain Tillian, who escaped, were afterward members of 
the Protector's crew. Captain Tillian told me that he was 
in the after part of the boat when she sank, and the last he 
remembered was being in water up to his breast and that one 
of the sailors asked him to kiss him good-bye. The captain 
was picked up on the surface unconscious. Another of the 
men said that he was carried to one end of the boat on the 
first inrush of water and then he felt himself being rapidly 
carried back to the centre of the boat and heard a sharp hiss- 
ing sound like the rush of air. The next thing he recalled 
was coming to on the dock. 

The Alligator was the first of the large cruising type of 
submarines which we built for the Russian Government. 
These vessels were five hundred and thirty-five tons sub- 
merged displacement, which was about twice that of the dis- 
placement of any submarines which had previously been 
built; and I was very anxious to get a trial of her before 
the winter season came on in the fall of 1907. As the winter 
closes all navigation in the Gulf of Finland for six or 
seven months, and as there were a number of new features 
to be tried out in this boat, I knew that unless I succeeded 
in getting a trial before the winter shut down I would have 
several months of worry as to whether or not the boat would 
function satisfactorily when submerged. Delays occurred, 
so that we were not able to get our trial as early as expected. 
The action of the weather indicated that navigation was 
likely to be closed within a day's time, as frequently occurs 
in those northern latitudes. We had not received the peri- 



scopes or lights, and the boat was not entirely completed, 
but was sufficiently far advanced to make it safe for me 
to try her on a submerged run. Consequently we arranged 
with the commandant of Cronstadt to supply us with a sea- 
going tender and went out for a trial in the open gulf, where 
we could get sufficient water to navigate such a large boat. 
It was very rough and stormy, and it took us some little time 
to get our final adjustments to enable us to submerge com- 
pletely. We found that we did not have sufficient ballast 
to enable her to be submerged by filling the usual water 
ballast tanks, so we had to let some additional water in her 
motor- room, being careful not to let it rise high enough to 
saturate the windings of our dynamo-motors. In the mean- 
time the storm had been increasing in velocity and a very 
rough sea had arisen. I had observed through the sighting 
hood that the tender was making very bad weather of it ; the 
last I saw of her she was pitching and jumping out of the 
water to such an extent that at times I could see her keel 
from the stem to nearly one-half her length. When we 
got under water we became so much interested in the oper- 
ation, which was entirely satisfactory, that we did not come 
to the surface again for about fifteen minutes. Then we 
simply rose for a look around and submerged again, giving 
no thought to the tender. The seas were so high that we 
could hot see any distance from our sighting hood, and sup- 
posed she was somewhere in the vicinity. We continued 
our tests, alternately submerging and trying her out on the 
turns and at different speeds of motors until our battery 
was nearly run down, then we blew tanks and came to the 
surface just at dusk, expecting to find the tender to lead 
us back to Cronstadt. We had no lights or compass at this 



time, but fortunately we were able to catch sight of one of 
the lightships off the entrance to the channel leading to the 
harbor of Cronstadt, sufficient to set our course for port. By 
this time it was blowing a gale; in fact, it was the north 
storm which preceded the close of navigation, which fol- 
lowed a day or two later. Finally it set in to sleet and rain, 
and shut off our view of the light. We had nothing to 
guide us, but took a chance on the general direction. Fortu- 
nately we had no mines to fear, as the war had closed and 
they had been removed. Finally it " cleared up " sufficiently 
for us to make out the lights again, and we got into Cron- 
stadt in the early hours of the morning. On our arrival at 
the dock we found the commandant of the port and a num- 
ber of officers who had been informed of our arrival when 
we came through the war harbor gateway. We found the 
officers and men of the tender which had escorted us, all 
under arrest, and the commandant of the port asked me 
with very great seriousness if I would like to have them sent 
to Siberia. It seems that they had waited about an hour 
after they saw us disappear, and had come to the conclusion 
that we were lost. The commander of the tender said that 
if he had remained out any longer he thought that he himself 
would have been lost, as the storm was so severe. It broke 
loose nearly everything he had in the boat, washed all of his 
portable deck fittings overboard, and he feared his vessel 
would founder. I explained to the commandant of the port 
that under the circumstances, and from my observations 
of the way the boat had jumped around when we submerged, 
as well as from the fact that the commander of the tender 
could not see us, he was justified in coming into port. I 
also said that I would be very greatly obliged to him! — the 



commandant of the port — if he would release the captain and 
crew from arrest, with my compliments ; and this, I am glad 
to say, was done. 

A number of submarine vessels with their crews have 
been lost in peace-time manoeuvres. The cause of loss has 
not always been easy to determine. In numerous cases it 
was undoubtedly due to faulty design, especially in boats 
of the diving type, where they lacked sufficient static stabil- 
ity and plunged headfirst into the bottom. Numerous lives 
have been lost by the explosion of either gasolene fumes or 
hydrogen gas given off by the batteries, and some by asphyxi- 
ation, caused by the escape of the products of combustion 
from the engines, the accumulation of carbonic acid gas or 
chlorine gas generated by salt water getting into the batteries. 

These accidents are usually brought about by the careless- 
ness of some member or members of the crew. I had been 
fortunate in not having any loss of life on any of my boats 
up to the beginning of the war, but ignorance and careless- 
ness have, in several instances, caused injuries, and might 
as readily have caused loss of life. 

I have had a commander, after being coached as to 
proper procedure, to attempt to submerge his submarine 
vessel without checking up to see that hatches and ventilators 
were closed. 

When we were enlarging the Argonaut at Erie Basin, 
in Brooklyn, I went down into the boat one day and found 
a strong odor of gasolene and saw numerous kerosene 
torches burning. Upon investigation I found that two 
machinists who were dismantling the engine had broken 
the gasolene supply pipe and allowed the gasolene in the 
pipes to run out on the floor of the engine-room — about 



a half-gallon, I should judge. I ordered the men all out of 
the boat and blew out the torches, even taking the precaution 
to pinch the wicks. Upon going up on the deck, a sub- 
foreman in charge of the men declared that there was no 
danger and ordered the men back to work. I objected, and 
went up to the main office to report that they were doing a 
dangerous thing, and to see if I could not get the superin- 
tendent to order a blower sent down to blow the gas fumes 
out of the boat. But before I could get his attention I saw 
the ambulance drive by, and learned that as soon as I had 

left the deck a couple of the men said I must be a d fool 

to be afraid of a little gas, and they had then gone down 
in the boat and struck a match to relight one of the torches. 
By this time an explosive mixture had been formed, and 
I can only hope that the explosion which occurred, as well 
as the following weeks which they spent in hospital, have 
now convinced them, as well as some of the other doubters, 
that a little gasolene in an imDroper place is exceedingly 

Another more serious explosion occurred on one of our 
large cruising submarines at the New Admiralty Works in 
Russia, which was due to a combination of both carelessness 
and ignorance. In this instance, gasolene had been sent down 
to the Admiralty dock for conducting dock trials of the 
engines. When the fuel arrived, the boat was full of work- 
men, carpenters, pipe-fitters, machinists, etc., but, notwith- 
standing the fact that there were rules posted that all men 
should leave the boat when' taking on gasolene — except an 
inspector, who should check up to see that the proper valves 
were opened and everything tight — the quartermaster in 
charge of the labor crew, without notifying anyone in charge 



or anyone aboard the boat, connected up with the supply 
system and started pumping the gasolene into the boat. The 
engine was then running and charging batteries. Now it 
appears that one of the naval officers had — also without 
notifying the engineer— ordered a section of the filling pipe 
taken down for the purpose of having a branch pipe connec- 
tion made in order to carry some additional fuel in the 
centre ballast tank — something we did not approve of; so, 
when the gasolene was pumped into the boat, instead of going 
into the proper tanks it ran out on the floor of the conning 
tower, then down through some openings for electric wires 
that had not yet been sealed, over the switchboard, and col- 
lected in a large puddle on the floor. One of the Russian 
electricians, who had been aft adjusting the dynamos, finally 
noticed this gasolene running down over the switchboard and 
cried out in Russian, " Quick, leave the boat for your lives 1 " 
and in his excitement he pulled the switch through which 
the dynamos were charging the batteries. This created a 
spark, which was all that was needed to create an explosion. 
Fortunately, this was a large boat and she had three exit 
hatches, all of which were open. A number of men were 
just in the act of going through the hatches; they were 
blown up into the air twenty-five or thirty feet, according to 
some observers, two of them falling into the water, from 
which they were rescued. Many of the men were seriously 
burned, but none fatally. Those most seriously injured 
were those near the hatches, as the flash of flame rose toward 
the hatches, the openings being the line of least resistance for 
the compressed air and gases. The men in the ends of the 
boat were not injured, while those midway between the 
hatches had about six inches of the bottom of their trousers 



burned to a crisp, which shows that the heavy gasolene fumes 
had not yet become thoroughly mixed with the air. 

I had been on board this vessel only a few minutes 
previous to this explosion and at that time everything was 
in proper order, but I had left to keep an appointment with 
the Minister of Marine. Before reaching his office, how- 
ever, one of our office men overtook me and notified me of 
the explosion. On my return I found great excitement, 
as it was reported that many men had been killed. The 
explosion had set fire to a lot of shavings and the wooden 
deck covering over the batteries, as well as some joiner 
work which was in process of erection. Some of the yard 
officers had ordered the hatches battened down, but the 
engines were still running, receiving sufficient air through 
ventilators to supply combustion. It was reported that 
several men were missing, and it was believed they had been 
killed by the explosion and were still on board. In the 
meantime the Minister of Marine and other officers had 
arrived, also a couple of fire companies, and I requested 
them to open the hatches and see if they could not put out 
the fire and get out the bodies if any were there. The offi- 
cers objected on the ground that if any water were put on 
board it probably, upon coming in contact with the batteries, 
would create a lot of hydrogen gas and cause a further 
and perhaps more disastrous explosion. Finally I procured 
a couple of flasks of carbonic acid gas and let that into the 
boat over the battery compartment where the fire was, which 
smothered the flames, and then borrowed one of the fire- 
men's smoke helmets and went down into the vessel, expect- 
ing to find some of the bodies of our missing men. The fire 
had burned the rubber insulators off the wires and some of 



the asphaltum insulators around the batteries, and the smoke 
was so thick that it was impossible to see anything, even 
with an electric lamp which I carried, but the heat was not 
very intense, as the flames had been put out by the carbonic 
gas and I found no bodies, so I ordered the hatches open, 
blowers put in, and a few buckets of water, which put out 
the embers. Our missing men were later found in the 
hospital, where they had been rushed before their names had 
been taken. Seventeen of the men were injured so badly 
that they had to go to the hospital, but the burns were mostly 
superficial, only the outer skin and hair being burned, and 
this was due to the instantaneous flash of the gasolene. 
They all eventually recovered. 

The following day I held an investigation and learned the 
above facts regarding the delivery of the gasolene on board, 
the breaking of the pipe, etc. Several of the Russian work- 
men saw the gasolene leaking down into the compartment; 
one whom I interrogated said it had been leaking in for about 
five minutes before the explosion. I asked him if he knew 
it was gasolene. He said, " Yes." I asked him if he knew 
it was dangerous, and he said, " Yes." I asked him then why 
he did not report it, and his reply was characteristic of the 
Russian " moujik." He said, " I was sent down there to 
clean up the shavings after carpenters and not to look after 
the gasolene, as to whether that was being put on board in a 
proper manner or not, and I know enough to attend to my 
own business and do only what I am told to do." 

The evidence further shows that about a quarter of a 
barrel of gasolene had been pumped into the boat before it 
was discovered that the pipe had been disconnected. 

From the fact that the trousers of the men standing 



between the hatches were burned only about six inches up 
from the bottom, it shows that the gasolene fumes were 
still lying close to the floor, owing to the fact that the 
fumes of gasolene are heavier than atmospheric air. Had 
the explosion come a few minutes later, when the gasolene 
fumes and the air had been more thoroughly mixed, the 
explosion would have been more powerful and would prob- 
ably have killed every man on board, as it did in the Italian 
submarine Foca, when twenty-three men were killed by 
an explosion due to a leaky gasolene tank. 

There have been many other explosions, resulting in 
fatalities, in almost all of the navies using gasolene boats, 
especially where the fuel was carried in tanks built within 
the main hulls of the vessel, as it seems impossible to so 
" caulk " a seam in a tank that the fumes of gasolene will 
not leak through. The fact that it first settles to the floor 
makes it not easy to detect by the nostrils. When gasolene 
fumes become sufficiently mixed with air to rise up to the 
height of one's nostrils I always consider it an explosive 
mixture and would not think of striking a spark, as experi- 
ments show that a proper mixture of air and gasolene or 
hydrogen and air at only atmospheric pressure in an enclosed 
vessel will exert an explosive force of about ninety pounds 
per square inch, which will cause practically instant death. 
The above case, in regard to the Russian vessel, was undoubt- 
edly due to carelessness or thoughtlessness of the officer who 
ordered the pipe to be disconnected, and the ignorance of the 
" moujik " who failed to give warning when he saw the 
gasolene coming into the boat ; also to the further thought- 
lessness of the electrician who pulled the switch which made 
the spark. 



Among other accidents that have happened in peace times, 
causing loss of life, are several in the British Navy in vessels 
of the diving type ; the Farfadet and Lutine in the French 
Navy, due to lost control in diving; also the Plumose, which 
was run down and cut in two as she was coming to the 
surface ; the Fulton, during an experimental cruise, and the 
F-4, E-2, and F-i in the American Navy. In war time there 
have undoubtedly been many submarine vessels and entire 
crews lost, with none to tell the story of their passing. 



The experiences of the pioneer inventors of the sub- 
marine, if known in detail, would undoubtedly afford many 
amusing incidents as well as some tragic ones. Some of 
these have been treated in the previous chapter on the comedy 
and tragedy of submarine development. Cornelius Debrell 
must have been either something of a joker or else he 
was much further advanced in the art of revitalizing the 
air than are any of our modern scientists. His experiments 
attracted much attention during the reign of King James 
the First, and, according to the accounts published at that 
time, he must have been quite a court favorite, for it is 
reported that King James made a trip with him from West- 
minster Bridge to Greenwich. The accounts assert that he 
could remain under water for long periods of time by simply 
pouring out a few drops of some secret liquid from a bottle 
which he carried with him. The celebrated Ben Jon- 
son, in one of his works, refers to Debrell and his cele- 
brated boat in a humorous passage from one of his 
plays, " The Staple of News," acted by " His Majesty's 
Servants " in 1625. 

P. Jun. — Have you no news against him, on the contrary? 

Nath. — Yes, sir. They write here, one Cornelius-son hath made 
the Hollanders an invisible eel, to swim the haven at Dunkirk and 
sink all the shipping there. 



P. Jun. — But how is't done? 

Cym. — I'll show you, sir. It is an automa runs under water 
with a snug nose, and has a nimble tail, made like an auger, with 
which tail she wriggles betwixt the costs (ribs) of a ship, and sinks 
it straight. 

P. Jun.— A most brave device, to murder their flat bottoms. 

{Act II, 5 1 . i.) 

Of course, there are no authentic plans of Debrell's boat 
in existence, but from the descriptions which were published 
in regard to it I am under the impression that probably he 
did succeed in submerging below the surface of the water 
and propelling her with the tide for some distances. The 
description tells of some very ingenious arrangements for 
submerging the boat, in which he used goatskins sewed 
together in the form of bags. The mouth of each bag was 
nailed over an orifice opening from the interior of the boat 
into the sea. These goatskins were placed between planks, 
with a sort of a Chinese windlass arrangement for squeezing 
the planks together. When he wished to submerge the boat 
he allowed the planks to open out, and the water, rushing 
into the goatskins, increased the vessel's displacement so 
that it sank. When he wished to come to the surface he 
simply drew the planks together and squeezed the water out 
of the goatskins, thus restoring the vessel's buoyancy. Ac- 
cording to description, the boat was propelled by oars extend- 
ing through ports opening into the sides of the boat. 
Goatskins sewed in the form of cones prevented the water 
from entering the vessel, the base of the cone being nailed 
to the sides of the boat, the apex of which was cut off and 
bound around the staff of the oar. This gave sufficient 
flexibility to feather the oars and row under water. 



Nearly one hundred years after Cornelius Debrell's 
experiments an Englishman by the name of Day built a small 
wooden submarine and descended in it under the water. 
This experiment gave him sufficient confidence to undertake 
the construction of a large vessel, and he proposed to make 
a profit from its use by making wagers that he could descend 
to a depth of one hundred yards and remain there for a 
period of twenty-four hours. He built the vessel, placed his 
wagers, and descended. He won his wagers but never 
returned to the surface to claim them. 


During the Revolutionary War Dr. David Bushnell, a 
resident of Saybrook, Connecticut, devised a submarine ves- 
sel called the American Turtle. He aimed to destroy the 
British fleet anchored off New York during its occupation 
by General Washington and the Continental Army. 
Thatcher's Military Journal gives an account of an attempt 
to sink a British frigate, the Eagle, of sixty-four guns, by 
attaching a torpedo to the bottom of the ship by means of 
a screw manipulated from the interior of this submarine boat. 



A sergeant who operated the Turtle succeeded in getting 
under the British vessel, but the screw which was to hold 
the torpedo in place came in contact with an iron strap, 
refused to enter, and the implement of destruction floated 
down stream, where its clockwork mechanism finally caused 
it to explode, throwing a column of water high in the air 
and creating consternation among the shipping in the harbor. 
Skippers were so badly frightened that they slipped their 
cables and went down to Sandy Hook. General Washington 
complimented Doctor Bushnell on having so nearly accom- 
plished the destruction of the frigate. 

If the performance of Bushnell's Turtle was as success- 
ful as this, it seems strange that our new government did not 
immediately take up his ideas and make an appropriation for 
further experiments in the same line. When the attack was 
made on the Eagle, Doctor Bushnell's brother, who was to 
have manned the craft, was sick, and a sergeant who under- 
took the task was not sufficiently acquainted with the opera- 
tion to succeed in attaching the torpedo to the bottom of 
the frigate. Had he succeeded, the Eagle would undoubt- 
edly have been destroyed, and the event would have added 
the name of another hero to history and might have changed 
even the entire method of naval warfare. Bushnell's plans 
did not receive any encouragement, however, and were bit- 
terly opposed by the naval authorities. His treatment was 
such as to compel him to leave the country, but, after some 
years of wandering, under an assumed name he settled in 
Georgia, where he spent his remaining days practising his 

Doctor Bushnell was also the inventor of the submarine 
mine, with which he blew up a schooner anchored off New 



London, Connecticut, and attempted to sink some British 
men-of-war in the Delaware River off Philadelphia by setting 
them adrift with the tide, expecting them to float down, strike 
against the sides of the ship, and then explode. Fortunately 
for the ships, none of them happened to strike, but the fact 
becoming known that torpedoes were being set adrift in the 
river caused great consternation among the British shipping 
people. When some wag set a Jot^of.JkegsadrTftT which 
floated down the river, it caused tremendous excitement, the 
English crews firing at the kegs as they came floating down 
the river. This has been recorded in that humorous poem 
called " The Battle of the Kegs," by Francis Hopkinson, 
one of the signers of the Declaration of Independence. 

Fulton's Attempt. — Robert Fulton, the man whose 
genius made steam navigation a success, was the next to 
turn his attention to submarine boats, and submarine warfare 
by submerged mines. A large part of his life was devoted 
to the solution of this problem. He went to France with his 
project and interested Napoleon Bonaparte, who became 
his patron and who was the means of securing sufficient 
funds for him to build a boat which was called the Nautilus. 
With this vessel Fulton made numerous descents, and it is 
reported that he covered fifty yards in a submerged run of 
seven minutes. 

In the spring of 1801 he took the Nautilus to Brest, and 
experimented with her for some time. He and three com- 
panions descended in the harbor to a depth of twenty-five 
feet and remained one hour, but he found the hull would 
not stand the pressure of a greater depth. They were in total 
darkness during the whole time, but afterward he fitted his 
craft with a glass window, one and a half inches in diameter, 
6 81 


through which he could see to count the minutes on his 
watch. He also discovered during his trials that the 
mariner's compass pointed equally as true under water as 
above it. His experiments led him to believe that he could 
build a submarine vessel with which he could swim under 
the surface and destroy any man-of-war afloat. When he 
came before the French Admiralty, however, he was met 

robert fulton's submarine 

with blunt refusal, one bluff old French admiral saying, 
" Thank God, France still fights her battles on the surface, 
not beneath it ! " — a sentiment which apparently has changed 
since those days, as France now has a large fleet of 

After several years of unsuccessful efforts in France to 
get his plans adopted, Fulton finally went over to England 



and interested William Pitt, then Chancellor, in his schemes. 
He built a boat there and succeeded in attaching a torpedo 
beneath a condemned brig provided for the purpose, blow- 
ing her up in the presence of an immense throng. Pitt 
induced Fulton to sell his boat to the English Government 
and not bring it to the attention of any other nation, thus 
recognizing the fact that if this type of vessel should be 
made entirely successful, England would lose her supremacy 
as the " Mistress of the Seas," a prediction which seems now 
somewhat verified, judging from the work of the enemy sub- 
marines in the past few months. 

Fulton consented to do so regarding other European 
countries, but would not pledge hhnself regarding his own 
country, stating that if his country should become engaged 
in war no pledge could be given that would prevent him 
from offering his services in any way which would be 
for its benefit. 

The English Government paid him $75,000 for this con- 
cession. Fulton then returned to New York and built the 
Clermont and other steamboats, but did not entirely give up 
his ideas on submarine navigation, for at the time of his 
death he was at work on plans for a much larger boat. 

Tuck, the inventor of the Peacemaker, had an unhappy 
lot. He spent a considerable portion of his wealth upon his 
experiments, and it is reported that his relatives, thinking 
he would spend all of his money in this way, and conse- 
quently leave nothing to them, had him adjudged insane and 
incarcerated. Some years ago I met a diver who had been 
employed by Tuck in his submarine boat experiments. This 
diver related to me an incident that nearly caused them to 
lose their lives. It appears that the boat had been first sub- 



merged in shallow water to find out if it was tight, which it 
was under a moderate pressure. They then took it out in 
the Hudson River, but on reaching a greater depth, water 
started to come in around the gasket of the hatch, the hatch 
not being constructed in a manner to increase its tightness 
as the pressure on the same increased. The water came 
in so fast that they could not rise. He said they tried to 
caulk the leak by stuffing their handkerchiefs in between the 
hatch covering and the combing, but they could not stop it. 
Finally one of the men became so hysterical that it was neces- 

tuck's "peacemaker' 

sary for the diver to take up a hammer and tap him on 
the head with it and threaten to brain him unless he became 
quiet and did as he was told. The diver told me that he 
became satisfied that the only chance for their lives was to 
allow the boat to fill, then hold their breath as it was filling, 
until the external pressure on the hatch was equalized, and 
then open the hatch and swim to the surface. They fol- 
lowed this plan and escaped safely. 

Holland's Achievements. — While Mr. John P. Holland 
and I worked in adjoining rooms at the Columbian Iron 
Works, in Baltimore, in the years 1896 and 1897, at the 



time he was building the Plunger and I the Argonaut, and 
saw each other almost every day, we never became suffi- 
ciently intimate to exchange personal experiences. I am 
therefore indebted to his son, Mr. John P. Holland, Jr., 
for the loan of notes left by his father and compiled by 
himself regarding his father's early and later experiences. 
I quote from the notes : 

On the southwest coast of Ireland, a few miles from 
the famous cliffs of Mohar, and overlooking the river 
Shannon, stands the village of Liscannor. Here was born 
on February 24, 1841, John P. Holland, later to become 
famous as the inventor of the Holland submarine. He was 
the second son of John and Mary Holland, who had long 
been residents of the place. His father was a coast guard, 
and from him little John heard the stories of the sea that 
inspired in him the love he had for it in later years. His 
elder brother, Alfred, was a strong, healthy boy of great 
intellect. When John was six years old he was sent to the 
Irish Christian Brothers school at Ennistymon, in the same 
county. He always credited the Irish Christian Brothers 
with giving him the early education that made him capable, 
later, of achieving results that scientists of to-day can 
hardly credit as being true. 

In 1853 tne family moved to Limerick, causing John 
to be transferred to the schools taught by the Christian 
Brothers at Sexton Street, that city. He was a very studious 
boy and made great progress in his studies. He loved to tell 
how he was in the habit of rising early in the morning and 
going into the fields, where he would climb a tree and there 
study his lessons for the day. The family had not resided 
long in Limerick when the father was taken from them very 



suddenly. He had been suffering from some slight ailment, 
and mentioned the fact to a friend. The friend advised that 
he take a home remedy, composed mostly of potash. He 
took the prescribed dose and died within a few hours. 

On the death of his father John was compelled to give 
up school and seek employment in a tobacco shop. In 1858 
he left the position and became a teacher in the Christian 
Brothers schools. In i860 he showed signs of failing health ; 
accordingly the Brothers transferred him to one of their 
schools in Waterford, in the hope that the climate there 
would prove more beneficial to his impaired health. How- 
ever, after residing in that town for a time it was seen that 
the looked- for improvement did not materialize, and he 
grew worse instead of better. During the following twelve 
months he was assured by the best medical advice available 
that his health would not permit him to continue his studies, 
and that in order that it be restored he would do well to live 
in some place having a mild and dry climate, such as is found 
in the Madeira Islands. For several reasons this was im- 
practicable, so he went to Cork to wait until he could find 
a suitable climate in which to live. While staying in Cork 
he lived at Ashburton, at the western end of Clanmire Hill, 
for about one year. While here he improved greatly in 
health and strength. 

The War of the Rebellion in the United States had 
started a few months before he came to live in Cork. To- 
ward the end of November, 1862, he read in the Cork 
Examiner an announcement of the first combat between 
armored ships that had occurred about two weeks pre- 
viously; that is, the battle between the Monitor and Merri- 
mac at Hampton Roads, Va., in which the little Monitor 



defeated the Merrimac, of twice her bulk and power, after 
a short contest. Just before the remarkable duel the Merri- 
mac, ignoring the guns of her opponent, the wooden ship 
Congress, sank her by striking her with her massive iron 
stem. The Cumberland, another ship like the Congress, lying 
in the water near her, did not wait to be similarly rammed, 
but made haste to run aground on the nearest shallow place. 
But this did not save her, as the Merrimac attacked her and 
set her on fire with her heavy guns, while ignoring her fire, 
which did very little harm. This epoch-making contest in 
Virginian waters astonished naval authorities the world over, 
especially in England, whose main reliance for the main- 
tenance of their power was placed in the " wooden walls," 
and in the bravery and skill of their seamen. The English 
nervousness was due to the demonstration at Hampton Roads 
that wooden ships could be no more of a hindrance to an 
armorclad than the Cumberland and Congress were to the 
Merrimac, and that if the Yankees built a few more moni- 
tors and sent them across the Atlantic quickly, they could 
come to London by water absolutely unhindered and destroy 
London and all the English navy within reach. All the 
English naval depots could, with practically no hindrance, 
be treated similarly within a few months, and an end made 
of English oppression from which it could never recover. 

That this is no wild dreaming will be evident to every- 
body, when the action of the English Parliament regarding 
a proposal made there by a Lord of the Admiralty was 
considered and acted upon favorably in rapid order. A 
certain Lord Paget, who commanded an English ship at the 
bombardment of Sebastopol, proving that he was not without 
experience in justifying the assertion, told them that if all 



the five hundred and eighty English warships then in exist- 
ence were sent into the Cork harbor; and if the little 
American Monitor were to get in there, too, at the same time ; 
and also if a suitable chain boom were fixed so as to enclose 
the whole lot, that the same little Monitor could send them 
all to the bottom within a few hours without being com- 
pelled to fire a single shot. Lord Paget made these assertions 
in support of a motion he made before the House of Com- 
mons, proposing that the unspent part of an appropriation 
of about $75,000,000 designed to build forts to defend 
harbors in the South of England for the protection of their 
fleets against the French and Yankees should be immediately 
applied to the construction of armorclad ships. Without 
any delay a bill was passed making the required change in 
the appropriation bill. Very shortly after the Admiralty 
proposed the construction of four ironclads, which proposal 
was immediately adopted. 

Four large battleships were taken and razed and covered 
with armor-plate. They were followed later by many much 
more powerful vessels designed especially to carry armor, 
until at the present day the English Navy is competent to 
engage all the European navies together. Mr. Holland, re- 
flecting upon the result of the duel at Hampton Roads, 
foresaw this result clearly, because he knew that England 
possessed the necessary materials, money, and mechanical 
skill required to provide ships enough to maintain her claim 
to her assumed title, " Mistress of the Seas," and to enable 
her to terrorize the greatest nations of Europe that had 
persistently shown lack of wisdom by their neglect to 
properly provide themselves with the only weapon that could 
resist her ; that is, a sufficiently powerful navy. 



They trusted, to their undoing, to great armies, forgetting 
that England had already proved her ability to cause com- 
binations of her former enemies against any one of them. 

But, having carefully noted the development of armored 
ships in the American, English, and French navies since 
the first duels of armorclads at Hampton Roads, Mr. Holland 
conceived the notion that it would be possible to build a 
vessel that would utilize water cover as a protection against 
an enemy's projectiles and thus be capable of ramming her 
enemy without exposing herself to attack. The study of the 
possibility of designing a practicable submarine boat to 
encounter English ironclads in this manner became the most 
interesting problem that he had to solve for a considerable 
time afterward. He further relates the physical difficulties 
that had to be overcome ; bad health and hard work hindered 
consideration of the problem for a long time, until one day 
he happened to see in a newspaper an account of the experi- 
ments made with a submarine in New York harbor.* The 
description of its performances appeared to be incredible 
when he remembered the physical difficulties that had to be 
overcome, as his former study of the subject revealed them. 
Reflecting later that it was foolish and unfair to ridicule and 
laugh at a project which was described only by a short 
notice in the newspaper, and that described only its success 
in overcoming the physical difficulties in its operation, he 
started on a thorough study of the question in connection 
with a design roughly sketched on a sheet of paper ; giving 
due attention to the essential points concerned in using 
a submarine boat so that it would be practical to live and 
work while completely submerged even in rough water ; so as 
♦Probably "The Intelligent Whale." 



to propel it, first, at an even or any required depth ; second, 
to be able to steer it with certainty in any required direc- 
tion; third, to have an ample supply of compressed air on 
board, as well as the necessary apparatus to renew it 
when exhausted. 

Fortunately he had sufficient engineering knowledge to 
determine the thickness and weight of a spindle-shaped steel 
shell competent to endure the external water pressure due 
to a submergence of two hundred and fifty feet depth, which 
was probably the greatest pressure it would ever be com- 
pelled to endure when in action. He was also competent to 
provide for a change of trim and for regulating the degree of 
submergence, as well as to provide for a slow or a rapid 
rise to the surface as circumstances might require. After 
completing his design, however, he found there was no one 
with confidence enough in the idea to give him backing. 
He was regarded as a second Jules Verne; in a word, a 
dreamer. He accordingly locked his plans in his trunk 
and for the time being forgot all about them. 

A few years later his mother came to the United States 
and he decided to follow her. He landed in Boston in the 
winter of 1872, and in the middle of typical New England 
weather as found at that time of the year. Everything was 
covered with ice and snow, quite different from the mild 
winters he had known in the little " Green Isle." One morn- 
ing after his arrival he was walking through one of the 
streets of the " Hub," and, not being possessed of the 
agility of a mountain goat — so necessary for a man to navi- 
gate one of our American streets during an icy spell — he 
had not gone far before he fell and broke his leg. Passersby 
helped him home, and he was assured by the physician who 



set the fracture that he would not be able to move about for 
at least two months. Finding himself with so much idle 
time on his hands, he decided to get out his forgotten plans 
and study them again. The result was that by the time his 
convalescence was over he had drawn a new and much 
superior design. 

But it was not until 1876, when he was teaching school 
in Paterson, New Jersey, that he succeeded in securing 
financial backing for his first boat. A friend at that time 
raised the necessary capital, about $6000, and the building 
was done at the Albany Street Iron Works, corner of Albany 
and Washington Streets, New York, in 1876, in the shop 
Owned by Messrs. Andrew and Ripley. To their courteous 
superintendent, Mr. Dickey, he was indebted for many sug- 
gestions toward rendering the boat practical and useful. 
Early in 1878 she was removed to Todd and Rafferty's shop 
in Paterson, New Jersey; he, being a resident of that city 
at that time, could complete her outfit more easily there. 
Toward the end of July, 1878, she was taken to a point 
where she could be more easily launched, about one hundred 
yards above the Falls Bridge, on the right bank of the river. 
She was taken there late one fine afternoon and launched 
from the wagon on which she was moved. Mr. William 
Dunkerly, the engineer in charge of the operation, fastened 
a strong line on her bow to bring her to when she was afloat ; 
but she did not float long, for the wagon wheels sank in the 
made ground where they launched her, the greater part of 
the wagon being submerged, as well as nearly one-half of the 
volume of the boat, leaving the boat with the stern consider- 
ably elevated. After hard work on the part of Messrs. 
Dunkerly and John Lister, the owners of a boathouse above 



the bridge, she was pulled off the wagon and floated for a 
few minutes, amid the cheers of mill operatives who lined 
the banks and covered every available spot on the bridge. 
But the cheering suddenly ceased when the boat backed a 
little out in the river, for she settled deeper in the water 
and finally sank, to the great disappointment of the crowd, 
who expressed their feelings in loud yells until Messrs. 
Dunkerly and Lister moved the wagon out of the way, took 
hold of the boat's painter, and pulled her out of the water 
high and dry on the spot previously occupied by the wagon. 
It is no exaggeration to say that the natives were much 
astounded to see a little iron boat weighing four tons pulled 
by two men from the bottom of the Passaic and left standing 
high and dry on the bank. 

The next day the accidental submergence was explained 
by the absence of two five-eighths inch screw plugs from 
the bottom of the central compartment in which the operator 
would be seated while the boat was in operation. By opening 
a stop valve while the boat was in operation under water 
a sufficient quantity of water would enter, surround the 
operator in his diving suit, and render the boat and its 
contents heavier' than water, so that it would sink as it did 
after having been launched with the plug holes open. The 
reason that it did not sink, and that it was so easy a matter 
to pull it ashore, was because the total weight on board on 
that occasion was much more than it was designed to carry. 
The central space then carried water equal to the weight 
of the diver and his suit of armor, as well as the additional 
quantity that would fill the space around him, as well as that 
which would be due to the distention of the suit by air pres- 
sure while it was in action during diving. The actual prac- 



ticability of being able to handle the boat under these con- 
ditions was the first important point proved by experiment 
on the day following the launch. 

" We proved conclusively, a few weeks after, that our 
estimate of the quantity of fresh compressed air required 
to support life comfortably in the operator was probably 
a little excessive. The quantity of compressed air, as well as 
the pressure required to force all water out of the boat 
and to cause her to float light on the surface, was ample. A 
few days after the launch, the engine having been given 
a slight test, the boat was towed up the river to a point 
opposite the old Pennington house. In the launch that 
towed her were Mr. Dunkerly, Captain John Lister, and 
three men prominent in the ' Fenian ' movement.'' 

What happened when the boat reached the point for 
the test is best told by Mr. Dunkerly : " We fastened ropes 
to the bow and stern," Mr. Dunkerly said ; " Mr. Holland 
climbed into the submarine, closed the hatch, and started the 
engine. The bow went down first, and before we realized 
the fact the boat was under twelve feet of water. The ropes 
were a safeguard in case the compressed air should not 
prove sufficient to expel the water from the ballast tanks. 
Holland was also given a hammer with which to rap upon the 
shell of the boat should he find himself in difficulties. After 
being submerged one hour, Holland brought the boat to the 
surface, to the great relief of all who were witnessing the 
test. As soon as the boat came up the turret opened and 
Holland bobbed up smiling. He repeated his dive several 
times, and then he invited us to try it, but we preferred to 
• stick to the ropes.' About the third trip we made up the 
river a stranger was seen hiding behind the rocks on the 



river road. He had a powerful field glass, and it was said 
that he was an agent of the British Government. His pres- 
ence caused a commotion for a time." From here we will 
continue in Mr. Holland, Senior's, own words : 

" Continuous submergence trials for various periods 
were next undertaken. We had one serious setback that 
caused no greater trouble than shortening our experiments 
by compelling us to omit all running trials and to confine our- 
selves to testing matters of essential importance. This was 
due to the failure of the misnamed Braton engine that was 
installed in the boat. The builders assured me that it was 
a Braton engine, but they had improved on Braton's designs 
by employing two double-acting cylinders, having both ends 
of each supplied with charges from one central combustion 
chamber. On trial in the boat this engine failed to develop 
any noticeable power, so we were compelled to employ 
Mr. Dunkerly's launch, supplying her engines with steam, 
which was conducted from the boiler of his launch by way 
of a hose to the engine of the submarine, which was now 
employed as a steam engine. This entailed a considerable 
loss of steam, due to condensation, but it produced enough 
power to propel the submarine, having Mr. Dunkerly's launch 
alongside so as to allow free vertical movement, as when 
diving, so that we could test the efficiency of the boat's 
horizontal and vertical rudders. The vertical rudders, those 
that controlled horizontal motion, proved to be very effective, 
but the horizontal rudders, placed on the level of the centre 
of buoyancy, proved to be useless. We proved that the boat 
should move three or four times more rapidly before they 
could produce a useful effect. This experiment showed the 
folly of attempting to control the degree of submergence of 



the boat by the employment of central horizontal rudders, 
a method on which so much importance was placed by some 
of my predecessors and successors, in attempts at submarin- 
ing, and, strange to say, some of them still believe in it, 
very evidently because they have never tested them. A 
good many submarine and other inventors are satisfied with 
designs on paper and do not bother to make experiments. 
We determined some other very evident matters that it was 
necessary to prove by actual experiment ; that is, that it is not 
practical to cause a boat to lie still at any given depth without 
the employment of complicated machinery that should have 
no place in a submarine boat. Several other important 
points regarding the design, construction, and management 
of submarines, which still cause difference of opinion and 
design, were determined fairly well. For instance, the 
modern craze for ' good, big boats,' as well as for large, 
high conning towers, was proved to be absurd. Even though 
our views on these and other matters were exhibited to the 
Navy Department Ordnance Bureau, practically no notice 
was taken of them. I disliked the idea common among 
politicians that my failures to get a government contract was 
owing to political influence or ' pull,' but, judging by my 
short experience in Washington, I concluded that there was 
another, and much more serious, hindrance to the adoption 
of my ideas. 

" The history of the efforts I made to induce the govern- 
ment to consider the claims of the first submarine boat pro- 
posed to them by me in 1875, as well as the results, reflects 
no credit on the officials that had anything to do with it, 
as can be clearly seen from what follows. 

" The first proposition was made in 1875, through a 



friend of the late Secretary of the Navy Robeson, for his 
consideration. It was referred by him for a report to the 
late Admiral Sampson, at that time commander of the tor- 
pedo station at Newport, Rhode Island. The Admiral 
reported in good time that the project was practically impos- 
sible, owing mainly to the difficulty of finding in what direc- 
tion to steer the boat under water, and the attempt to do so 
would be an aggravated case of trying to find one's way 
in a fog. Very evidently he had no notion of the possibility 
of steering by compass under water. The same incredulity 
was expressed by a distinguished Swedish officer whom I 
afterward met in New York. 

"After having determined the correctness of my ideas 
regarding submarines, and adding a few points revealed 
by the experiments made on the Passaic River, my financial 
supporters, the trustees of the Fenian Skirmishing Fund, 
determined to build a larger boat that could be employed 
for breaking blockades.* Toward the end of May I started 
to design a new boat of about nineteen tons displacement; 
in other words, one small and light enough to be carried 
on ship's deck and launched overboard whenever her ser- 
vices would be required. Only three men were required 
for her crew. 

" She was built at the shops of the Delamater Iron 
Works, at the foot of West Thirteenth Street, New York, 
and launched in May, 1881. During her construction my 
curiosity was excited by the apparent incredulity of some 
of the engineers in the shop regarding the practicability of 
such a boat. Many objections were urged against her, espe- 

* Note. — The blockade of Alexandria was in progress at that 



CD fD 

° ^ M 

o 3 


cially by men who should have known better, but the trouble 
with them was almost the same as I encountered later among 
the staff officers of the navy, viz., because they were, almost 
without exception, of English, Welsh, or Scotch descent, 
experienced in all kinds of shipbuilding. They appeared to 
know by intuition that the project was absurd. They pro- 
posed many difficulties that were not solved for them. I 
also noticed that many of the men appeared to take a deep 
interest in the progress of the work, even though they never 
made any inquiries to my knowledge, yet they observed 
everything, because there was no way of preventing them. 
I also noticed what appeared to be consequences of this 
curiosity of foreigners regarding an American machine. 

" During the following twelve months many visitors 
came to look over the submarine, mostly Swedes, Russians, 
Italians, and Germans. I was much pleased to meet two 
of them who apparently had no idea of the jealousy with 
which some people guard their military secrets, viz., Ali 
Ritza and Hassan Effendi. But, very clearly to me, they had 
no idea of the importance of what was expected from the 
machine, or, much more likely, they had been persuaded 
by their acquaintances of English connections that the project 
would never amount to anything because it did not originate 
in England. The fact that English opinion in naval matters 
governed the opinion of every American was made quite 
clear to me later on. 

" This nineteen-ton boat was launched in 1881. She was 
thirty-one feet long, six feet beam, seven feet four inches 
in depth, and was propelled by a Brayton petroleum 
engine. Her crew consisted of three men — the pilot, engi- 
neer, and gunner. She laid at the Morris & Cummings 
7 97 


Dredging Company's dock in Jersey City until July 3, 1883, 
during which time many interesting experiments were 
made with her. 

" The first run on the surface and while submerged was 
made in the basin, or passage, east of the Lehigh Valley 
Railroad. The first tests made were the surface runs to test 
the engine, clutch, gearing, etc. These proved very success- 
ful, and the next in order was to submerge the boat at the 
dock and determine whether the seams were all right, and 
also to test the efficiency of the compressed-air tanks for 
supplying oxygen for breathing and giving impulses for 
expelling water from the ballast tanks. 

" Accordingly Richards, the engineer, and myself en- 
tered the boat and closed the hatch. This shut us off from 
the air, and our breathing now depended entirely on the 
compressed-air reserve. After waiting a few moments and 
finding no ill effects from the compressed air, I decided to 
submerge. I drew back the little iron levers on either side 
of my head (these operated the Kingston valves in the bot- 
tom, through which water was admitted to the ballast tanks). 
Almost immediately the boat began. to settle, giving us the 
suggestion of slowly descending in an elevator. I now 
looked through the ports in the superstructure and observed 
that the bow had entirely disappeared and the water was 
within a few inches of the glass. A second or two later 
everything grew dark and we were entirely submerged, 
and nothing could be seen through the ports excepting a 
dark-green blur. 

" Our next suggestion was a slight jar when the vessel 
struck the bottom. It might also be mentioned here that we 
had no light except the glow that came through the conning 




tower. This just about sufficed to read the gauges, bat was 
too poor to be of much interest to the engineer. The engine 
was not needed at that time, however, but we decided to 
carry a small lantern, to be used when any adjustment was 
necessary, but not otherwise, as it consumed too much of our 
precious oxygen. 

" Richards having made an examination and found every- 
thing tight, I decided to blow out the ballast and come up. 
Accordingly I opened the valve admitting air to the ballast 
tank, and at once heard a hiss that told me that the air was 
driving out the water. The green blur on the ports in the 
conning tower grew lighter as I gazed through them until 
suddenly the light of full day burst through, almost dazzling 
me. After blinking my eyes a few times I looked out again 
and saw the familiar surroundings of the ' Gap.' I now 
opened the hatch and stood on the seat, thus causing my head 
and shoulders to protrude from the tower. As soon as I 
was observed doing this a cheer burst from the crowd of 
observers on the dock, among whom opinion was equally 
divided as to whether we would ever emerge alive from 
our dive or not. We had now demonstrated the fact that 
our boat was tight, that our air was sufficient for breathing, 
and that our ballasting system was perfect. 

" Our next test was to prove that we could dive with our 
engine running. Many were the gloomy prophecies advanced 
as to what would happen when we attempted to force our 
exhaust outboard against the water pressure found at eight 
or ten feet depth. For this occasion Richards and I entered 
the boat, I taking my place in the conning tower, while he 
went forward to start the engine. After a little kicking and 
sputtering he succeeded in getting it started. We then let 



in the clutch and the boat started forward. When we reached 
the far side of the basin I turned her around and threw out 
the clutch, causing the boat to slow down and stop. Closing 
the hatch, we then made sure that everything was tight, and 
opened the Kingston valves. When the water reached the 
observer's ports in the conning tower, I closed them again. 
We then proceeded along awash ; that is, with only the little 
tower showing above the surface. I found that from this 
position I could observe objects quite a distance ahead, and 
my vision was obscured only occasionally when a wave 
washed against the glass. I next threw forward the lever 
on the right side of my seat (this was connected with the 
diving, or vertical, rudder by a lever action) . Immediately 
the nose of the boat went down, and before I realized it our 
gauge showed a depth of about ten feet. I now drew the 
lever back to centre, and the boat straightened out on an 
even keel. There was very little or no tendency to buck 
or be cranky; in a word, I had no difficulty in preventing 
her nose from rising or dipping down. 

"After running about one hundred yards submerged I 
steered the boat up, and in a few seconds the superstructure 
of the boat was again above water. I then opened the air 
valve and expelled my ballast, causing the boat to rise and 
assume her normal position. This dive was practised for 
some time in order that we might gain facility in handling 
the diving and steering gear. 

" Captain John Ericsson was at that time preparing to 
build his Destroyer in the same part of the shop in which 
my boat had been built. Somebody in Delamater's described 
my boat to Captain Ericsson and explained the purpose of a 
nine-inch tube placed in the axis and having a breech and 



bow cap. The object of this fitting was to permit the inser- 
tion of a six-foot torpedo that could be shot out at a target 
while the boat was under water by air at a heavy pressure 
contained in steel flasks connected with the breech of the 
gun by a balanced valve. After the torpedo was ejected 
the breech and muzzle were closed, and the water contents 
of the tube were permitted to flow into two tanks to correct 
the position of the centre of gravity. 

" Not having any torpedo models ready for experiment 
when the boat reached Jersey City, Captain Ericsson very 
kindly sent me word that I might build a few like those he 
proposed to use in his Destroyer. I therefore deferred 
building any on my own ideas, and decided to use his, should 
they prove suitable. The Delamaters built me two on his 
models and sent them to Jersey City for trial. For the trials 
of Ericsson's torpedo models the boat was set awash in the 
water, with the axis of the torpedo placed horizontally and 
about three and one-half feet below the water surface. Be- 
cause there was a new floating dock lying in the water about 
one hundred and fifty yards from the submarine, and in a 
direct line with it, the firing pressure was reduced to about 
three hundred pounds on the square inch. When the firing 
valve was opened the projectile passed out and travelled 
about six or eight feet beyond the muzzle of the gun, then 
it turned upward and arose in the air to perhaps sixty or 
seventy feet; then it fell point foremost in the water and 
buried itself so deeply in the mud that we could never find 
it again. For the second shot the boat was depressed a few 
degrees and was swung to port so as to avoid butting the 
floating dry dock. It travelled about twice as far as its 
predecessor, then rose fifteen feet in the air and passed over 



the wall limiting the basin, striking a pile that projected above 
it, and frightening a fisherman who was dozing thereon. 
He was in no danger, however, as the pile and string-piece 
of heavy pine afforded him ample protection. 

" While the boat lay at Gorky's repair shop at the point 
called the ' Gap,' a test was made of the efficiency of the 
apparatus provided for using the boat as a diving-bell, viz., 
a watertight hatch placed over a hatchway on the bottom, 
with valves leading from air-chambers, through which air 
under pressure was permitted to flow and fill the space 
occupied by the operators. 

" When employing the boat as a diving-bell everything 
was closed tight and air was admitted to the central space 
until the external water pressure was exactly balanced, and 
when the lower hatch might be opened without any risk of 
water entering. The first man to make a test was Mr. George 
M. Richards, of Erie, Pennsylvania, my engineer. He sank 
the boat at high water while she lay at the dock. When she 
rested on the bottom he opened the test valves to make cer- 
tain that the external water pressure was balanced by the 
internal air pressure, admitting an excess of water equal to 
his weight to hold her on the bottom. This operation did not 
consume more than a minute. He did not actually go out of 
the boat, but only dropped his feet on the bottom, passed his 
hands under the boat, one on either side, and lifted the boat 
slowly and with little exertion about one foot from the 
bottom. Had I provided the boat with a diver's outfit he 
could have gone out and come back again without trouble or 
risk. On July 3, 1883, we left the ' Gap ' in Jersey City in 
order to do some diving in the deep water of the Narrows. 

" The boat went out under its own power, unaccompanied 


by anybody save a small colored boy who had managed to 
drop on the turret when we were leaving the dock. The first 
intimation I had that we were carrying a passenger was 
shortly after we had passed Robbins's Reef Lighthouse. 
Then I found my view of Staten Island and Bay Ridge be- 
came obscured by what seemed to be a pair of brown rags 
hanging on either side of the turret and blocking the vision 
through the side lights. When we passed Robbins's Reef 
the water became a little rougher, so that the water passed 
up on the hull and washed over the turret. After the win- 
dows had been wet a few times I heard noises that plainly 
indicated that we were carrying an uninvited and unwelcome 
passenger. Fearing that the waves would wash him off, I 
headed the boat upstream, opened the hatch, and invited him 
to come inside, as I feared running through rough water 
with him on top. He politely refused my invitation, assur- 
ing me that he was ' puffectly safe ' where he was, and that 
he would ' hold on like grim death.' This unfortunate cir- 
cumstance spoiled my chances of diving in deep water that 
day, so we were compelled to abandon it. This interruption 
by the young colored gentleman wasted so much time that it 
was after sunset when we headed for the Bay Ridge shore, 
with which I was unfamiliar, to look for a landing place. 
Seeing through the twilight unmistakable signs that the shore 
was rocky, I ran the boat out about one hundred yards and 
then headed her up toward the Bay Ridge Ferry landing, 
with the intention of leaving her there until daylight the 
next morning. Before starting north we noticed two boys 
in a rowboat approaching us from the shore. We stopped 
until they came alongside and inquired: 'What is this 
thing? ' They came on board and inspected her at our invi- 



tation, and expressed great astonishment at the strange 
boat they had picked up. But what was much more to the 
purpose was that when they found we had no particular 
landing place in view they very kindly offered us the hos- 
pitality of Mr. Vanderbilt Bergen's dock at Bay Ridge for 
as long as we wished to stay there for experiments. Then 
they took our " painter ' and towed us into his dock on the 
site of the present Crescent Yacht Club station. The two 
young gentlemen, Tunis Bergen and his cousin Harry 
Midgley, also contracted to take care of our material and 
help us out during our stay at their dock. What was of 
great importance to us was that we learned from Mr. Vander- 
bilt Bergen, Tunis's brother, that the place we had happened 
upon was by far the most suitable of any within miles for 
diving and experiments. We left the boat there over two 
months, making experiments to determine the value of our 
devices and to improve them wherever possible. 

" Every time we went out we took two' or more dives 
of various lengths, most of these quite across the Narrows, 
a little below Stapleton. During these dives I always made 
certain that there was no ship of twenty-five or thirty feet 
draught passing. Ordinarily we ran at a depth of not less 
than twenty feet, so that we could afford to ignore excursion 
steamers, fishing boats, and small yachts. The paddles of 
excursion steamers we could hear a long distance away, so 
that we never had any difficulty in avoiding them by chang- 
ing our course or running at a greater depth until they had 
passed. We had a rather exciting experience on one occa- 
sion when we started to run submerged from Stapleton to 
Bay Ridge. At starting there was no large vessel in sight, 
but when about two hundred and fifty yards from shore I 



distinctly heard the paddle of a steamer. I instantly changed 
the vessel's course from directly across the Narrows, heading 
her upstream and running to twenty feet depth so as to 
eliminate any danger of a collision. Running along I listened 
for the sound of paddles, but could hear nothing, so I con- 
cluded that the steamer must have passed beyond the range 
of hearing or else had changed her course. Therefore I 
thought it would be safe to come within fifteen feet of the 
surface and listen again. I did so, and, hearing no sound, 
brought the turret above the surface to look around, but I 
could see no steamer. I then resumed my course back to 
Bay Ridge. On approaching Mr. Bergen's dock I saw three 
or four men jumping around and acting as if demented, so on 
landing I asked Bergen the cause of their hilarity. ' Oh,' he 

said, ' you frightened the d out of the St. Johns, the 

Long Branch steamer. You remember having come near 
the surface shortly after you started across and then diving ? 
We didn't see you again until you rose three hundred yards 
out at this side.' I said that I remembered it. ' Well, when 
you went down that time your propeller shot a great mass 
Of water out backward, just as big as, or bigger than, any 
whale could blow. The St. Johns was about two hundred 
yards astern of you, and she stopped instantly, not being 
able to tell what the trouble was ahead of her. After a 
while she started up and headed into the Staten Island shore, 
keeping on until I thought she would run ashore. She 
ported her helm and kept close along shore until she 
passed the Quarantine anchorage, then she headed straight 
for New York.' 

" Experimental runs were made almost every day during 
the months of July and August, and continued until Septem- 



ber, when we returned to the ' Gap ' in Jersey City. During 
our experiments we were never without a considerable crowd 
of witnesses, sometimes numbering hundreds, especially in 
our runs from the ' Gap ' up the Hudson and return. One 
morning in July a very patronizing gentleman, who an- 
nounced himself as a reporter from the New York Sun, 
requested permission to go into the boat and examine it, but, 
much to his surprise, I was compelled to refuse him permis- 
sion. The next morning there appeared in his paper a long 
report describing the performances of the Fenian Ram, a new 
name to which I had no objection excepting its incorrectness. 
Because public curiosity was aroused, the same Mr. Blakely 
Hall seldom missed reporting every run or experiment we 
made while at Bay Ridge. He explained to me that I was 
foolish in not wishing to advertise my invention, because 
the Government would certainly wish to acquire boats of the 
same type, as he could see by the newspaper reports that 
they were already preparing to build them in France. 

" Shortly after our return to the ' Gap,' an amusing inci- 
dent took place which is well worth recording. A number of 
friends and myself decided to take a trip up the Hudson. 
There were eight or ten in the party, and, as the submarine 
could accommodate only four, a small sloop was hired to 
carry the overflow. When we got under way, the submarine 
towing the sloop, we found the going rather hard, owing 
to cakes of ice floating down the river. When we were off 
Hoboken I slowed down to allow a steamer to cross our bow. 
This, of course, slackened the towline, with the result that 
when I got under way again said line fouled the propeller, 
held for a second, and then broke, sending the sloop adrift 
among the cakes of ice. The crew of the derelict bark 

1 06 


shouted to attract my attention, but I had the hatch closed 
and could not hear them. I proceeded about a mile upstream 
from the point of the accident before I discovered that my 
tow was missing. I turned back and found my unfortunate 
mariners had been picked up by a passing boat and towed 
back to Jersey City. 

" In November, 1883, while returning from a run through 
the Narrows, we dove to a depth of sixty feet, remained on 
the bottom for an hour, and came to the surface with no 
more trouble or inconvenience than if we dove only eight or 
ten feet. Shortly after this the Ram's career ended in a 
rather odd way. I have no intention of advancing any ex- 
cuses for the incident, as no official explanation was ever 
made to me concerning it. As a result, I never bothered 
again with my backers nor they with me, but before recording 
the more solemn incident I would like to mention a rather 
amusing one that has just come to mind. 

" One morning, on going down to board the boat, I was 
surprised to find no boat there. I was puzzled for a minute, 
but, on inquiry of the bystanders, I found that my engineer, 
Richards, had decided to take the boat out for a run by 
himself. He had proceeded down stream, but that was about 
all the witnesses could tell me. I therefore walked along the 
wharves until I came to a crowd of men standing on a pier 
and pointing out into the river. My attention was called to a 
point on the surface about two hundred yards off the pier 
head. There a great deal of air was coming to the surface in 
countless little bubbles. The man told me that the Irish Ram 
had just gone down there, owing to the fact that the conning 
tower was open when it passed close to a barge and tug. 
The wash from the tug passed over the little boat, flooded 



the hatch, and came near catching Richards below. He 
happened to be just below the hatch, however, and was blown 
out by the escaping air when the boat went down. He 
floundered around in the water for a few minutes and was 
finally picked up by the crew of the tug. A few minutes 
later Richards appeared, still a bit pale from his rather 
startling experience. It cost my backers about $3000 to raise 
the boat and put her in shape again. 

" The final history of the boat is told in a few words. 
She was taken one night from her slip in the ' Gap ' and 
towed to New Haven, Connecticut. During the trip she 
was in charge of Breslin, one of the trustees of the fund. 
I received no notice of the contemplated move then, nor was 
I notified after. I am told that when they arrived in New 
Haven they attempted to make dives, but handled the boat 
so awkwardly that the harbor master decided that she con- 
stituted a ' menace to navigation,' and demanded a bond if 
any further trials were to be made. As a result she was 
hauled out of the water on the property of Reynolds, another 
member of the committee, and there she still is. There is 
also a rumor that they have tried to sell her to the Russian 
Government, but failed, as on investigation the prospective 
buyers found that title to her was not clear. 

" After the Ram. was taken from me, I had no means of 
experimenting further or building another boat. After a 
time I secured a position with the Pneumatic Gun Company 
as a draughtsman. While employed there I managed to 
interest some members of the company and some friends of 
theirs in a design that I had drawn immediately after the loss 
of the Ram. I allowed these men to examine my plans, 



and they, approving of them, set about to organize a com- 
pany, known as the Nautilus Submarine Boat Company. 

" During the organizing of the company I became ac- 
quainted with Captain Zalinski, U. S. A., an expert on heavy 
artillery. Through Captain Zalinski I met many influential 
men, who not only helped me with the project in hand at the 
time, but were largely instrumental in having my boat 
adopted by the United States Navy. 

" At the suggestion of Captain Zalinski the boat was 
built at Fort Hamilton, as he was stationed there at the time, 
and, being on the army active list, could not be away from 
his post of duty. During the time of her construction every- 
thing was under his supervision. The boat was fifty feet 
long, six feet beam, and the hull was constructed of wood. 
In 1886 the boat was launched. The launching ways ran 
down from the fort wall to the water's edge. This part of 
the program was in the hands of a young engineer who had 
either an insufficient knowledge of the subject or lacked the 
ability to put his knowledge to practical use. The result 
was, that when the heavy boat started down the launching 
ways they suddenly collapsed and she crashed into some pil- 
ing near the water's edge, tearing out the greater part of her 
side and bottom. 

" On investigation it was found that the cost of repairs 
would exceed the amount of money still on hand in the 
company's treasury. Accordingly the wrecked boat was 
broken up where she lay, the engine and fittings removed 
and sold, and the proceeds used to partly reimburse the 
stockholders for the money they had invested. This acci- 
dent discouraged my company from any further attempts 



at submarine construction. Had this boat been successful, 
submarines would have become an accepted success years 
before they did. This unfortunate incident held me back 
at least ten years, as it was that long before I was able to 
secure backing to construct another boat. 

" About this time the United States Navy Department 
was mildly interested in the performances of submarines in 
France, where they had attained some slight degree of 
success. The designs for these boats, I am sure, were based 
on certain fundamental points of my Fenian Ram design. 
As I have said previously, there were a number of foreign 
officers present at Delamater's Yard from 1879 t0 1881, 
while the boat was in course of construction, and it is hardly 
to be expected that they failed to take notes. However, the 
knowledge they secured did them very little good, because, 
while they secured a lot of valuable data, their inexperience 
caused them to disregard the most vital points, with the 
result that their boats never attained any degree of success. 
However, I do not wish to convey the impression that the 
United States Navy Department was at this time considering 
building submarines as the results of the French experi- 
ments ; far from it. Had it not been informed of the success 
of my Fenian Ram, which was far more interesting and 
wonderful than anything the French had done, and still 
remained unconvinced? I was totally sick and disgusted 
with its actions, and was seriously tempted to abandon all 
further attempts to convince and awake it from its lethargy. 
About this time I wrote an article, " Can New York be 
Bombarded ? " with the intention of bringing before the 
public the pitiable condition of our fleet and coast defences, 



and showing how a few submarines would place us in 
a position to ward off an enemy's attack from mostly any 
point on our coast as effectively as if we had an adequate 
shore defence and a fleet equal to Great Britain's." 

The article referred to treats of other types of ships. 
This is not of interest now, but we quote what he says 


" This boat has a speed of eight miles per hour ; she can 
remain under water for two days, or longer, without having 
any connection with the surface. She can be steered by 
compass when under water, and her course may be laid 
and corrected without obliging her to remain more than 
a few moments on the surface. This can be done without 
ever appearing over water. She can move at any required 
depth, and is more thoroughly under control when com- 
pletely submerged than when on the surface. Her hori- 
zontal and vertical motions are controlled automatically or 
by the pilot. 

" The torpedo, carrying a one-hundred-pound charge, 
can be projected in a straight line to a distance of eighty or 
ninety feet, according to the power employed in expelling 
it. The method of attack will probably be as follows : The 
diving boat, with only her turret above water, moves toward 
the ship. When she gets so close that her presence may be 
discovered, say half a mile, she descends a few feet under 
the surface. Once or twice, after the bearing of the ship 
is observed by means of a telescope projected for a few 



minutes over the water, corrections are made in the course 
for deviations owing to currents. 

" When near the vessel she goes deeper, so as to bring 
her stem ten or fifteen feet beneath the surface. Netting 
can thus be avoided. She can now discharge her torpedo, to 
explode on contact. As soon as this strikes, the explosion 
occurs and a large hole is torn in the ship's side. The ship 
will now become unmanageable, and with assistance may be 
captured. Experience has shown that in a seaway she 
rolls or pitches very little, apparently following the wave 
slope in large waves. In short, sharp ones, she seems to 
rise and fall bodily with very little tendency to pitching. 

"A notion seems to prevail that the proper duty of a 
diving boat would be to carry a diver, who could come out 
and fasten a torpedo to a ship at anchor, then retire into 
his boat and move away; also, that it would be useful in 
placing and removing stationary mines. It is very evident 
that if a diving boat can attain a speed of ten or twelve miles 
per hour, fire torpedoes at ships moving at full speed, and 
keep to sea for days together, her sphere of usefulness would 
be greatly extended. In fact, there is no insuperable objec- 
tion to the employment of such vessels for coast defence and 
operations against ships. Submarine mines are not so effec- 
tive against them as vessels on the surface, because they 
can pass them unobserved. They can enter a harbor that 
may be thoroughly defended, should it be necessary to 
destroy vessels inside the defences. If those on the fleet 
become aware of their presence it is more than probable, 
judging from the action of the French fleet in 1877-78, 
that the moral effect of the discovery will be that they will 


feel convinced of the foolishness of awaiting an attack when 
the time so employed may be more wisely expended in 
moving to a safe distance, and in getting there at full speed. 
Thus, in 1886, did I try to show by comparison the superior- 
ity of the submarine over the torpedo boats and gunboats, 
the two arms of defence on which the Navy placed all its 
confidence at the time." 

From the above words concerning John P. Holland's 
various efforts to secure recognition of his inventions, and 
his years of strenuous endeavor to devise a weapon capable 
of providing a means of defence, there is no question but 
that it is due to his initiative, perseverance, and success that 
the diving type of boat was ever brought to be manageable 
and adopted by the United States and England. 

Mr. Holland's health broke down in his later years, said 
to have been caused by the treatment which he received from 
some of his associates. 

The testimony which Mr. Holland leaves among his 
notes, and the opinion given me by his son, would indicate 
that his name and services were used to enable others to 
make large financial gains, and that he himself received 
little, if any, benefit from his life's work. His son is author- 
ity for the statement to me that such competence as he was 
able to leave for his family was derived from his other 
business outside of that of his submarine work, and 
that his connection with submarine matters undoubtedly 
affected his mind and health in later years and probably 
shortened his life. 

An appeal found among his papers, addressed to the 
chairman of the Committee on Naval Affairs of the House 
8 "3 


of Representatives under date of February 8, 1906, would 
appear to bear out this statement. I quote : 


38 Newton Street, 
Newark, New Jersey, 
February 8, igo6. 
Hon. C. E. Foes, 

Chairman Committee on Naval Affairs, 
House of Representatives. 
Dear Sib : 

I am the inventor of the Holland submarine boat, now in use 
in the United States Navy and in Europe. My old patents, to the 
number of about twenty, are owned by the Electric Boat Company. 
On June 16, 1900, I entered into a contract with that company to 
serve as their engineer for five years, dating back to April 1, 1899, 
and expiring April 1, 1904. Since the expiration of my contract with 
the Electric Boat Company I have devoted myself to remedying the 
defects in my old inventions, and perfecting designs by which the 
low speed of the present Holland boats can be increased three or 
four times. Having perfected these inventions until I was sure I 
could obtain about 25 knots per hour submerged, and after making 
numerous other alterations, greatly improving the efficiency over 
my submarine boats now in use in the Navy, I procured the organiza- 
tion of a company, "John P. Holland's Submarine Boat Company,'' 
May 18, 1905, with sufficient capital to build a boat under my new 
plans and inventions, and was about to start to work, when the 
Electric Boat Company filed a suit against me in the Court of 
Chancery of New Jersey, applying for an injunction, and claiming 
substantially that I had agreed to assign to them all my inven- 
tions and patents during the term of my natural life. Two other 
suits have been started, one against my new company in the 



United States Circuit Court to enjoin the use of the name " Hol- 
land " ; the other against me personally, alleging a verbal contract 
never to compete with the Electric Boat Company, was commenced in 
the New Jersey Court of Chancery. My contract with the Electric 
Boat Company to act as their engineer, and to give them my patents 
and inventions, was for the five years during which I acted as engi- 
neer, and no longer, and expired April I, 1904, as stated above. 

These suits have had the effect of frightening off the capital 
that I had enlisted, and I have not as yet been able to get the 
capital to build my new boat, by reason of these suits. The only ob- 
ject of these suits was to prevent me from building a boat and 
going into competition before the Navy Department with the sub- 
marine boats now being built by the Electric Boat Company under 
my old patents. 

The Electric Boat Company makes the allegation in their last 
bill of complaint that by threatening to discharge me from their 
employ and break their contract with me and stop my salary, that 
I agreed to a contract which prevents me from using my brains and 
inventive talent in building submarine boats for the balance of my 
life. This allegation is absolutely false, even though under affidavit 
by Mr. Rice, and would be, if true, most inequitable on account of 
duress and on account of want of consideration. This alleged agree- 
ment was not reduced to writing; the only evidence the Court has 
is the sworn statement of Mr. Rice ; and when the fact is considered 
that Mr. Rice, formerly a professor of law at Columbia University, 
and having the assistance of Mr. Frost, also a lawyer, failed to have 
such an important agreement reduced to writing and signed by me, 
the whole proposition appears ridiculous and silly. The further fact 
that this bill of complaint containing these allegations, has been 
printed and distributed at the Capitol would seem to indicate that the 
principal object of this suit is to frighten away the capital I had 
enlisted, and prevent the consideration of my new patents and claims 
by your honorable committee. 

My attention has been called to the bill (H.R. 10070), entitled 
" A Bill to Increase the Efficiency of the Navy." It must be apparent 
to every member of your committee that this bill is drawn solely in 
the interest of the Electric Boat Company monopoly. The clause in 
it that "The Secretary of the Navy shall purchase or contract for 
said submarine boats within four months of the completion of the 



contract trials of the submarine boats now building for the Navy" 
is against all public interest, and is something extremely unusual. 
If the Electric Boat Company should not complete its contract for a 
year or two years or never, the whole business of the Navy Depart- 
ment in this line would be held up. The bill excludes me, the in- 
ventor of the Holland boats and who constructed and built the 
original Holland, which is now in the service of the Navy, from sub- 
mitting my plans and models to the Navy Department for considera- 
tion, for it would be useless to do so if the Secretary is deprived, 
by the proposed law suggested by the Electric Boat Company, from 
adopting them, though considering them superior in efficiency and 
economy to the plans upon which the present boats are being built. 

I have recently had my models tested in the government tanks 
at the Navy Yard in Washington by the United States officers in 
charge, and their official reports will show that I can get a guaranteed 
speed of 22 knots per hour submerged, and the same speed on the 
surface, and this speed can be obtained in vessels of the same 
or greater tonnage as those now being built by the Electric Boat 

I hardly think, Mr. Chairman, that your committee, in making an 
appropriation for submarine boats, will exclude the Navy Depart- 
ment from any consideration of the plans made by me when I say to 
you that these plans have the approval of some of the most expert 
officers in the Navy on the question of submarine boats, and that the 
boats can be built at one-third less than is now being paid the Electric 
Boat Company for boats of two-thirds less submerged and more 
than fifty per cent, less surface speed. 

If I am prevented by the suits filed against me by the Electric 
Boat Company from obtaining capital with which to build my boats, 
which will have three times the submerged speed of the present 
boats, and a vast improvement in other directions, then I want the 
law so framed that I can present a proposition to the Secretary of 
the Navy to cause my plans and new inventions to be thoroughly 
examined by a board of experts, and if favorably reported on, that 
the government may build the same in its yards under my super- 
vision, and pay me a reasonable royalty. That is all I ask your 
committee to do, and to not frame a law that will exclude me, the 
inventor of the present submarine boats, from having my improve- 
ments considered by the Secretary of the Navy, and pass one in the 



interest of the Electric Boat Company under its monopoly now of 
the business of the department under my old and obsolete patents. 

The title of the bill (H.R. 10070) should be: "A Bill to Pre- 
vent the Increase of the Efficiency of the Navy, and Prevent Economy 
Being Considered." 

If your committee is desirous of increasing the efficiency of sub- 
marine boats for the Navy, and at the same time reduce the cost to 
the government at least one-third, if not one-half, of the prices now 
being paid for submarine boats, a clause in the Naval Appropriation 
Bill on the following lines would effect the object: 

"The sum of Dollars is hereby appropriated for sub- 

marine boats, and the Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized 
to contract for or purchase or build in a navy yard of the United 
States these submarine boats, whichever in his judgment will in- 
crease the efficiency of the Navy and will be in the interest of econ- 
omy to the department." 

I consider my old patents assigned to the Electric Boat Company 
as obsolete ; they are ten years behind the age. 

I can build in the Navy Yard at Brooklyn boats under my new 
patents, designs, and inventions, in six months, and guarantee a sub- 
merged speed of 22 knots per hour. 

Admiral Bowles testified before the Senate Committee on Naval 
Affairs at its hearing on submarine boats. He was at that time 
chief of the Bureau of Construction and Repair of the Navy Depart- 
ment, and his statement at that time is entitled to the serious con- 
sideration of your committee, because it was that of a government 
expert, and is true in every respect. This hearing before the Senate 
committee is printed and the hearing took place on May 29, 1902. 
Admiral Bowles's testimony can be found in Senate Document 395, 
1st Session^ 57th Congress, page 82. He said that the Holland boats 
ought not to cost more than $89,489, and in this sum he said he 
had allowed an ample profit, and in addition had included $11,000 
for experiments and tests. Admiral Bowles is now president of the 
Fore River Shipbuilding Company, and is building the submarine 
boats that the Navy contracted for last year, and they are now being 
built under my old plans and patents, so alleged. 

If your committee will call upon the present Chief of the Bureau 
of Construction and Repairs, he will undoubtedly inform you that 
he can build in the Brooklyn Navy Yard my submarine boats as 



quickly and as expeditiously as they can be built by the Fore River 
Shipbuilding Company. 

I am a poor man, while the Electric Boat Company has among 
its principal stockholders three or four millionaires, including August 
Belmont, Isaac L. Rice, and others. The capital stock of that com- 
pany is ten million dollars. They have deprived me, by their flimsy 
lawsuit, from getting capital to build a boat under my new inventions 
and patents, and are now asking Congress to pass a law which will 
prevent the Navy Department from adopting my new plans and 
inventions, even should the entire department consider that they 
are far superior in every way to the plans now being used by that 

I do not believe that your committee will commit itself to this 
monopoly which is against the interest of the government. 

I am advised by my attorneys that as soon as the suits of the 
Electric Boat Company can be reached and tried the Court will 
undoubtedly dismiss them, but in the meanwhile they act as an in- 
junction against me, as they prevent my enlisting capital which is 
timid and dreads a lawsuit. 

Very respectfully. 

Mr. Holland and I worked on entirely different lines in 
the development of our respective types of boats, he being 
a consistent advocate of the diving principle. He contended 
for many years that a submarine boat should be built small 
in size and with little statical stability, so as to dive quickly, 
while I have stood for great statical stability and for methods 
of submerging the vessel bodily on a level keel instead of 
diving at excessive and dangerous angles. I have never 
refused to accede to him the credit of having been the man 
who first made the diving type of submarine practical, and 
to acknowledge his genius and attention to detail which 
overcame the difficulties which caused the failure of many 
of his predecessors who attempted to build boats of the 
diving type. 

He died on August 12, 1914, just at the beginning of 



the present European war, and consequently did not live to 
see the fulfilment of his prophecy that the submarine would 
prove the superior of the battleship if they ever became 
opponents in actual warfare. 

My own experimental work began when I was a mere 
schoolboy. I had become interested in the submarine by 
reading Jules Verne's " Twenty Thousand Leagues Under 
the Sea." Shortly afterward I took up the study of natural 
physics and became interested in the use of the diving bell. 
Being an excellent swimmer and fond of boats, I spent most 
of my vacation times on or about the water. I remember 
building a canvas canoe from a description published in 
Golden Days. This canoe was very "cranky," being only 
about eighteen inches wide and the sides eighteen inches 
high. The only way I could learn to sit in the canvas canoe 
was by ballasting her with pig iron and gradually reducing 
the ballast as I became more expert, until finally I learned 
how to keep an equilibrium and maintain the canoe upright. 
There was only one other boy I remember in the village of 
Toms River, where I lived at that time, who could ride this 
canoe, consequently some of the boat men, when they saw 
it one day drifting bottom side up down the river, came to 
the conclusion that I had been dumped out and drowned. 
When they came alongside and righted the canoe they were 
much surprised to find me in it. I had turned the canoe 
upside down and crawled up into it, the air pressure keeping 
the water from rising into it. I had crawled in there for 
the purpose of finding out how long I could live on the 
volume of air contained within the canoe ; in the meantime 
it was drifting down the river. 

Strange to say, the design of the submarine boat which 



I made at that time, when I was only about fourteen years 
of age, contained most of the elements which are being 
used successfully in the Lake type of boat to-day: the use 
of the hydroplanes for control of depth, bottom wheels for 
navigation over the bottom, and a diving compartment with 
an air-lock so that the crew could enter or leave the vessel 
when submerged. These plans were shown to my father 
at that time, who rather discouraged me in the matter on the 
ground that submarine navigation was something that great 
engineers had given a lot of attention to, and that I had 
better give more attention to my regular school studies than 
to fooling around with experiments of that nature — which 
was good advice. 

Consequently I did nothing further in the matter until 
1892, when my attention was called to an advertisement of 
the United States Government for inventors to submit de- 
signs of submarines to the Navy Department. Then I 
prepared plans which, in my judgment, would meet the 
Department's requirements. I was still a youngster, and 
knew nothing about the difficulties met by outsiders in get- 
ting hearings before government officials in Washington. 
On the appointed day, in June, 1893, on which the bids were 
to be opened I appeared in Washington with my plans and 
specifications under my arm, and was directed to the room 
adjoining the Secretary's office, where a large number of 
people were assembled. At this time I knew nothing of any- 
one else's experiments in submarines, and thought that I was 
the first and only one. I was consequently much disturbed to 
see so many people present. I sat down on a lounge, and a 
young man a little older than myself sat down on the lounge 
alongside of me and said to me, " Well, I suppose you are 


here on the same errand as the rest of us; I see you have 
some plans, and I suppose you have designs of a submarine 
boat which you are going to submit." I said, " Yes, and I 
guess there are going to be a good many plans submitted, 
judging by the number of people who are here." The gen- 
tleman then said, " No, I only know of two others who are 
going to submit plans : there is Mr. J. P. Holland, the gentle- 
man standing over there, and my father, Mr. George F. 
Baker, of Chicago." 

He then explained that he was the son of Mr. Baker, 
the man who had built the Baker boat, and whose experi- 
mental work was responsible for the appropriation of $200,- 

000 by the government for building a submarine. I then 
said to him, " Well, then, who are all these other gentlemen 
present? " He knew most of them and obligingly pointed 
them out to me, saying, " There is Senator So-and-so and 
Congressman So-and-so, and Mr. So-and-so the great law- 
yer," etc. I then said to myself, " Well, Lakey, it looks as 
though you were not going to have much of a show here." 

1 submitted my plans and specifications, however, and re- 
turned to Baltimore and to my other business. I was much 
surprised, therefore, to receive, some time afterward, a tele- 
gram from the editor of the New York Tribune, a Mr. Hall, 
stating that he had received information from Washington 
that my plans were looked upon most favorably by the 
majority of the Naval Board and that they were going to 
adopt my type of boat. He asked for an interview and a 
description of the boat. I did not go over to Washington, 
expecting to receive notice in good time that the award had 
been granted — which is proof positive that I was still young 
and ignorant. Nothing further was heard of the matter 



until I saw a notice in the paper that it had been decided not 
to build any submarines at that time, and that the matter 
had been postponed indefinitely. Some years afterward I 
met the late Admiral Mathews, and he informed me then 
that he had been a member of the board, and that four of 
the five members of that board were in favor of adopting 
my type of boat and of having the government start the 
development of a submarine on those lines, but that the 
constructor of the board opposed it on the grounds that when 
the boat was running on the bottom on wheels she might 
run off from a precipice and go down head first, and reach 
so great a depth as to be crushed, evidently not realizing 
that her great static stability and the use of her hydroplanes 
would prevent this from happening. Anyway, they did not 
arrive at a conclusion, and any action was postponed for the 
time being. 

In the meantime Mr. George F. Baker, who had moved 
to Washington in the full expectation of getting the contract, 
had died, and the Holland Torpedo Boat Company had 
offered to build, under guarantee of its performance, a boat 
to meet the department's desires. As I had no company back 
of me, and, being only a youngster, was without capital of 
my own, the department decided it was better for them to 
place a contract under a definite guarantee of performance 
than to undertake to develop a submarine themselves. I 
did not name any price for building the boat at the time I 
submitted my plans, but expressed the desire to cooperate 
with the government in any way that they wished. My 
youthful hopes at that time were that if they considered 
my general plans worthy of adoption I should be taken into 
the navy and given some sort of a commission to work out 



the details of the boat. When I saw some mention in the 
paper that the matter was to come up for consideration again, 
I did, however, make a visit to the Navy Department, and 
assuming, from my observation of the Senators, Congress- 
men, and representative men who were present at the time 
of the first opening of the bids, that it was necessary to 
have some sort of a standing, I secured a letter of introduc- 
tion from the governor of my native state, New Jersey, who 
at that time was Mr. Leon Abbott, introducing me to the 
gentleman who at that time was acting Secretary of the 
Navy, for the purpose of finding out, if possible, whether 
I had any chances, and the proper procedure to pursue in 
getting further consideration -of my invention. Presenting 
myself in the SecretaryVoffice, I sent in my letter of intro- 
duction, and the word came back that the Secretary would 
see me in a few minutes. I waited in the ante-room for a 
couple of hours, but no word came from the Secretary. 
Finally he appeared in the doorway and said, " Now, gentle- 
men, I am going to my lunch, and will be back at half-past 
two." I went out to my lunch and was back in the waiting 
room a little before half-past two, shortly after which the 
Secretary came into the room, passed around, shook hands 
with every one, and talked a minute or two with some of his 
visitors. When he came to me he shook my hand, and I 
explained to him that I had sent in a letter from Governor 
Abbott and had been awaiting an opportunity to see him. 
His reply was, " I will see you in a few minutes." He 
returned to his office ; at four o'clock he appeared at the 
door again and said, " Gentlemen, I will not be able to see 
any of you again to-day, as I must now sign my mail." 
I was on hand again the following morning, and notified 



the colored man that I was still waiting for the interview 
which the Secretary had promised me. The word came 
back that he would see me in a few minutes. I waited 
all the morning ; the noon hour came, and the Secretary then 
stated that he was going out to lunch and would be back 
at half-past two. Every one else who had appeared in the 
morning the day before had been granted his interview 
and a new crowd was waiting. I was the only chap who 
had " stood pat." By this time I was pretty much disgusted. 
As I went out into the hall the Secretary came out of his 
door and, putting his hand on my shoulder, said, " I am sorry 
to have kept you waiting, but as soon as I have finished 
my lunch I will take up your matter." You may be sure 
I was on hand, and after he returned he sent for me. He 
called a colored man and said, " I want you to take this 
young man down to Captain Sampson (afterward Admiral 
Sampson, who was at that time head of the Bureau of 
Ordnance), and tell Captain Sampson that Mr. Lake comes 
with a letter of introduction from the governor of my state, 
and I want him to listen to what he has to say about sub- 
marine boats, and report to me." This colored man, in- 
stead of taking me to Captain Sampson, turned me over 
to another colored man, and did not report the message 
which the Secretary had given him. This second colored 
man took me to Captain Sampson's clerk, and finally I was 
ushered into the Captain's presence and started to tell him 
about my boat and its possibilities. He immediately assumed 
a bored expression, turned his back to me, put his feet up 
on a chair, and said, " Well, go ahead, but make it brief." 
I admit that I was pretty much tongue-tied by this time, and 
I do not natter myself that I impressed him in the least 



degree, as his manner had the effect of a cold douche upon 
my enthusiasm. I remember that as I walked out of the 
Navy Department I vowed never to return until I was sent 
for, and I never did. 

I now started making experiments on my own account, 
and built the Argonaut, Jr., and later the Argonaut; and I 
did not return to Washington until I was sent for by a tele- 
gram from the late Senator Hale, at that time chairman 
of the Senate Navy Committee, asking me to come to 
Washington and submit a proposition for building sub- 
marine boats for the United States Government. I was 
never able to account for my treatment in Washington until 
some time afterward, when I had an office in New York. 
The former Acting Secretary had at this time left the Navy 
Department and was practising his profession of law in 
New York, where I believe he is still engaged. 

Having some legal business at that time which I thought 
he might be able to handle because of his experience in the 
Navy Department, I called upon him in regard to it. He 
stated that, as he was then free, he could handle it for me, 
and when I recalled my visit to him when he was Secretary 
of the Navy he said he remembered it very well. He laugh- 
ingly remarked that I may have thought him a little slow in 
receiving me ^.t that time ; and then explained that, previous 
to his accepting the portfolio as assistant secretary of the 
navy, he had been the attorney for a rival submarine boat 
company ; that he knew all about their boats, and the fact 
that they had expended large sums of money in the develop- 
ment of submarines ; and that, although he had resigned as 
attorney for the company before he became acting secretary, 
perhaps his former association with them had led him to give 



less consideration to my proposition than he otherwise fljight 
have done. 

As I believed the submarine to have great possibilities 
commercially as well as for war, I gave up my other business 
and came to New York, opened an office in the old Cheese- 
borough Building, and tried to secure capital to build a 
commercial submarine. I advertised in the papers and 
visited a number of capitalists in the effort to interest them, 
but usually, after obtaining an interview, as soon as I 
asserted that it was possible to navigate over the bottom 
of the ocean as readily as it was over the land, and that when 
on the bottom I could open a door in the boat but that no 
water would come in; and, further, that divers could very 
readily pass in and out of this open door, I observed in most 
cases a look of dread in their eyes and their hands would 
slide over and push a button. An attendant immediately 
came to the door and reminded Mr. " Blank," whoever he 
might be, that he had a very important engagement or that 
some other visitor was waiting to see him. Unfortunately 
for me, this was about the time that a madman had attempted 
to bomb Russell Sage in his office. 

The result was, that after spending six months and all 
of my savings I had not raised a dollar. I then decided that 
it was necessary to get some engineer of national promi- 
nence to endorse my project, so I went to Charles H. 
Haswell, author of " Haswell's Handbook," and former 
chief engineer of the United States Navy, and explained to 
him that I wanted him to give me a professional opinion 
on the practicability of my boat. I offered to submit him 
my plans of the boat — of which I also had a model in the 
tank of water in the Cheeseborough Building which I would 



like him to see, as I thus would be better able to explain 
to him its method of navigating on the surface and sub- 
merging beneath the surface and on the bottom itself. And 
I then asked him how much he would charge me. He 
stated that he should want $1500 for the investigation and 
opinion. By this time I had expended my savings and hardly 
had $15— let alone $1500. I explained the situation frankly 
to him, and he said, " Well, I will go down and look it over 
and give you a report anyhow, and you canr repay me at 
some future time when you are able." He did so, and gave 
me a very excellent endorsement, but I found that even his 
endorsement was not sufficient to induce capitalists to invest 
their hard-earned money in any such crazy scheme as mine 
appeared to them. I finally decided to build a small experi- , 
mental boat myself to demonstrate the two principal features 
over which almost every one seemed to be sceptical. These 
were the ability to navigate over the bottom of the ocean 
and the ability to enter and leave the boat while submerged 
without any water coming in and foundering her. I there- 
fore gave up my office and moved down to Atlantic High- 
lands, where, with the financial assistance of my uncle and 
aunt, Mr. and Mrs. S. T. Champion, I was able to build 
the Argonaut, Jr. She was built of yellow pine planking, 
double thick, lined with canvas laid between the double layers 
of planking, the outer seams caulked and payed. She was a 
flat-sided affair and would not stand great external 
pressure. She was propelled when on the bottom by a man 
turning a crank on the inside. Our compressed-air reservoir 
was a soda-water fountain tank. The compressed-air pump 
was a plumber's hand-pump, by which means we were able 



to compress the air in the tanks to a pressure of about one 
hundred pounds per square inch. 

My diving suit I built myself by shaping iron in the form 
of an open helmet, which extended down as far as my 
breast ; this I covered with painted canvas. I used the dead- 
light from a yacht's cabin as my eyeglass in front of the 
helmet. I tied sash weights to my legs to hold me down on 
the bottom when walking in the vicinity of the boat. A 
cousin, B. F. Champion, accompanied me on my first sub- 
merged run with the Argonaut, which was in Blackfish Hole 
in the Shrewsbury River. We submerged the boat along- 
side of a dock and started across stream in the river. The 
first time we went under water a stream of water came 
through a bolt-hole which had not been plugged and struck 
" Bart " on the back of the neck. He said, " Ugh ! " and 
made a dive. The Argonaut had a little port-hole in one 
end about six inches in diameter, and " Bart " said after- 
ward, " I made a dive for that port-hole, but came to the 
conclusion that I could not get through, so I stopped." It 
was a simple matter, however, to drive a plug in and stop the 
water from coming in. On our first trip we ran across the 
river and back, and, although there was a strong current in 
the river, she " backed " right back to her starting place, 
having rested on the bottom firmly enough to prevent the cur- 
rent from carrying her down stream. 

Later we took the boat up to Atlantic Highlands and 
had a lot of fun running around on the bottom of New 
York Bay picking up clams and oysters, etc. We finally 
decided to organize a company and build a larger boat ; so one 
day we invited the mayor of Atlantic Highlands, the presi- 
dent of the bank, and a number of other prominent people 


"argonaut, jr.," 1894 

A small experimental boat built by the author to demonstrate the practica- 
bility of wheeling over the bottom and of sending divers out from the boat without 
water entering the vessel. She was propelled by hand over the waterbed; she had 
an air lock and diver's compartment which permitted egress and ingress of a 
diver when submerged. 


of the little community to witness our trials. A number of 
the men wrote their names on a shingle, which was tied to 
a sash weight and then thrown off the end of the Atlantic 
Highlands pier in about sixteen feet of water. My cousin 
and I got into the boat, submerged her, wheeled her forward 
to where the sash weight had been thrown overboard, picked 
it up, and had it back on the dock again in five minutes. 

The performance of the Argonaut, Jr., becoming known, 
she received no little newspaper notoriety. In looking over 
my old clippings I find that there was a vein of scepticism 
and sarcasm running through most of these early accounts 
of her performance. I just quote briefly from one of 
the papers describing her, the New York HefaM, of 
January 8, 1895 : 

This Boat Crawls Along The Bottom. At Least 

That's What It Was To Do, but It Escapes and 

Astonishes Folks in Oceanic, N. J. 


it will crawl five miles without coming up to breathe 

when inventor lake completes it. fun 

for merry mermen. 

" Red Bank, N. J., Jan. 8, 1895.— Strange things come 
in with the tide in the ungodly hours of the night, and in 
the stillness of the night strange things follow them, but the 
strange thing which came up the North Shrewsbury a day 
or two ago, and which lies high and dry on Barley Point, 
9 129 


is a ' new one ' on the good folk of Oceanic. Now that they 
have fairly discovered it, they are sorry that it didn't wobble 
ashore in the summer, when Normandie-by-the-Sea below 
the Point is crowded with curious persons from the city. 
Any enterprising Oceanic man might have fenced in the 
queer thing and charged every one a quarter to see it." 

The few substantial persons who had witnessed the 
Argonaut's experiments provided the capital for the con- 
struction of the Argonaut First and enabled me to complete 
her, and she was launched on August 17, 1897. I had called 
the little experimental boat the Argonaut, Jr., because it was 
born before its mother, although the mother (the Argonaut 
First) had been conceived and designed first. I did not 
have sufficient capital to go ahead with her construction, and 
even the design of the Argonaut itself was cut down to corre- 
spond to the size of the subscriptions that we had been 
able to secure. 

The raising of capital to most inventors is a serious 
problem; it has always been so with me. I have always 
been interested in mechanical accomplishments, but always 
dreaded the necessity of trying to raise capital to carry on 
those experiments. I have never valued money for itself 
or felt the need of it except when I did not have it. I think 
this is the case with most inventors, which is the reason why 
so many of them go to unscrupulous promoters who rob 
them of their inventions, or else often tie them up so 
that they themselves are incapable of continuing their 
development work. 

Having made an initial success by my experiments, like 
most unsophisticated inventors I also fell into the hands of 
a promoter of this type. He was introduced to me by an 



officer of a bank, and, after an investigation of my project, 
claimed that he could raise all the money necessary to float a 
project of this kind, which in his judgment had the greatest 
possibilities of anything he had ever learned of. He said 
that his friends, the Vanderbilts, " Jack " Astor, and the 
Goulds, would immediately subscribe large sums upon his 
submitting the proposition to them. He secured possession 
of my plans, and took me to his house, which was a hand- 
some brownstone structure standing in beautiful grounds. 
Another evidence of wealth was that he always had a smart 
carriage with liveried coachman waiting for him at our 
various conferences, held frequently in the directors' room of 
the bank. He had himself made the general manager, myself 
the president, and Hon. William T. Malster, of Baltimore, 
the treasurer of the company. At his suggestion we sent out 
a notification to our subscribers that twenty-five per cent, of 
their subscriptions was due and payable. Mr. Malster was 
president of the Columbia Dry Dock and Iron Works, Balti- 
more, the company with which we had placed the contract 
for building the Argonaut, and as he was a Baltimorean 
he had kindly consented to serve as treasurer of my company. 
Everything now looked rosy, and I gave my attention to 
preparing the detailed plans of the Argonaut. One day the 
general manager came into the room and said, " Now I have 
arranged for the sale of $100,000 worth of our stock." 
(He was to get a certain percentage of the stock for selling 
it to his friends, the Astors, Goulds, etc.) " So," he con- 
tinued, " I want you to go to Baltimore and get Mr. Malster 
to sign up a lot of this stock so that we can make immediate 
delivery of it and get the money, and it would also be advis- 
able for you to have Mr. Malster sign some checks in blank," 



the checks of the company requiring the signatures of both 
president and treasurer. 

I visited Baltimore and explained to Mr. Malster what 
our general manager told me, and he said, " Well, Simon, 
you are a young man, and I think an honest one, and I am 
willing to trust you. I will sign these certificates, but don't 
you let them go out of your hands or sign them yourself 
until you have some definite written obligations on the part 
of those who are going to purchase this stock that they will 

pay for it." I returned to New York and told Mr. H 

that I had the certificates, etc., signed, and asked him when 
he would be ready to deliver the money and receive the 
stock. He stated that his friend " Jack " Astor was then out 
of town and he wanted him to be on the list first and would 
wait until he returned. He said, " I will see him at the 
first opportunity, but in the meantime you had better sign 
these certificates in blank and leave them with me, as I will 
have to fill out the names as he wants them, and I have had 
to agree to give him the biggest part of my commission to 
get it started." At the same time he told me that he would 
like to have a loan of a couple of thousand dollars for a few 
days (this we had on deposit there in the bank in the com- 
pany's name). He said, as I had Mr. Malster's signature, 
I could easily make him the loan and he would return it 
soon, for he had a large piece of property which he had 
arranged the sale of, but there were some back taxes due on 
it which he wanted to clear off before turning over the deed. 
I told him that I could not make a loan of the company's 
money. He then became very angry and said, " Well, if I 
did not trust him to that extent he would not go to his 
friends or dispose of the stock." He was a very pompous 



individual, wore gold eyeglasses, and had a large acquaint- 
ance, formerly having been a business man of standing. 

The fact that he had been introduced to me by an official 
of the bank led me to investigate him no further, but when 
he attempted to get the company's funds and its stock in 
blank I started an investigation, and found that the house 
that he was living in, and the horses and carriages, had 
been secured from another unsuspecting individual much 
older than myself in much the same manner. This individual 
had been in business for many years, nevertheless the pro- 
moter induced him to reorganize his successful business on 
a much larger capitalization. The promoter made an agree- 
ment with this man to sell the stock of the new company, and 
promised he would interest his friends, the Astors, Goulds, 
and Vanderbilts. As a partial consideration for this he was 
to receive this man's beautiful home and a certain percentage 
of the stock. The man's wife having died, he did not care 
to live longer in the house, so he agreed that the house should 
be given as a part consideration, and as a guarantee of his 
delivery of the house and stock as a part consideration on 
this promoter's agreement to float the stock of the much 
larger capitalized new company, he had placed both the 
controlling stock of the company and the house in escrow, 
and had turned the possession of the house over to this 
promoter, who was now our general manager, with the deeds 
of same to be held in escrow and not to be finally recorded 
until the Goulds, Vanderbilts, Astors, etc., had come into 
the new company. Hard times occurred about this time, so 
he claimed, which prevented promised capitalists from com- 
ing in, but, as Mr. H held the control of the company 

by holding the control of the stock, he had himself elected 



an officer of the company at a handsome salary and still held 
possession of this most beautiful home without ever having 
paid a dollar. I merely recite this as a warning to inventors 
to look out for the plausible New York promoter. I also 

discovered that Mr. H had made application for patents, 

my own patents not yet having been issued, with the idea of 
getting me into interference in the Patent Office, and it was 
necessary for us to threaten him with arrest and bring a 
suit against both himself and the cashier — whom we now 
learned had known of his previous experiences and expected 
to share in his profits this time — in order to get a legal 
release so that we could proceed with the work. 

Many of the troubles of inventors can be traced origi- 
nally to certain semi-professional men who call themselves 
patent attorneys. There are two classes of patent attorneys, 
one class consisting of conscientious, honorable gentlemen, 
who consider it their duty, when an unsophisticated inventor 
comes before them with an idea which the inventor considers 
new, to tell him the truth about his invention and to inform 
him whether it is really an original invention or not, or 
merely a slight modification of some old idea on which no 
protection can be secured. There is another class of attor- 
neys who have been more properly termed patent sharks, who 
will get a patent on anything brought to them ; for by juggling 
words they are able to get claims which mean nothing, except 
that they serve the purpose of getting the attorneys their 
fees. Many an inventor has an idea which is original with 
him but which may be as old as Bushnell's submarine or 
entirely impractical. The patent shark will get him a patent 
on this, and the inventor then thinks his fortune is made. 
He is very likely then to sell his farm and go* to New York 



and advertise in the papers that he has a valuable invention, 
there to fall into the hands of some unscrupulous promoter 
who secures all of his money without letting him know 
that the patent is worthless; or if he happens to have a. 
valuable invention the promoter will in all probability 
arrange matters so that he himself gets the cream and leaves 
the inventor a mere pittance. 

Since the war began, and there has been the general 
editorial demand by the papers of the country for some 
means to destroy or offset the submarine menace, I have 
received hundreds of letters asking advice, etc., regarding 
various devices. I have received visits from a number of 
people who have come from long distances, some from the 
West, others from Canada and from the South, to ask my 
opinion regarding certain attachments to be applied to sub- 
marines or on devices to capture submarines. Many of the 
ideas were old and some of them pitiful in the fact that 
they showed such ignorance of the laws of nature and of 
mechanics on the part of their projectors. One man sends 
me a copy of his allowed patent with a letter from one of 
these patent sharks acknowledging the receipt of final pay- 
ment of a considerable amount for his having received an 
allowance of his patent. I will, without betraying the 
name, quote in part from his letter : 

I would kindly ask if you would take hearing from me and take 
notice of my new invention, which is called the Power Transmitting 
Mechanism. The machine is started by spring or batteries; the 
first start is the spin of the fly-wheel; the fly-wheel pumps on the 
handle of the jack: one revolution to the one pound on the fly- 
wheel drives the handle of the jack back and forth. The jack will 
throw the crank one revolution with ninety-seven pounds. The 
jack is the result of multiplying power, and the jacks can be used 



in the same position as any and all cylinders. This machine will 
nicely furnish you the power for your undersea liner. No fuel is 

Now anyone can see that this proposition is nothing more 
or less than an impractical proposition mechanically, and 
that it is on the perpetual-motion order, yet this patent shark 
mulcts the poor man of a considerable sum to secure him 
some kind of a worthless patent. He is likely to expend 
much further sums in trying to get it on the market. A 
patent lawyer of that stamp should be put in jail for 
fraud, and should not be permitted to practise in an 
honorable profession. 

I have already recited my own difficulties in attracting 
the interest of the United States Government to my work, 
and I call attention to the fact that it required many years 
of persistent endeavor and the expenditure of vast sums 
of money furnished by patriotic individuals, and also the 
recognition of my devices by several foreign governments, 
before our own government recognized any merit in my 
work. That has been the experience of almost every Ameri- 
can inventor, so far as I am aware. We have seen how 
Bushnell was derided and driven from his home; and that 
Robert Fulton received no recognition from his home gov- 
ernment, and that the only recompense he ever received for 
his submarine work was from the British Government. 
Strangely, the money paid him was not for the purpose of 
enabling him to develop his invention, but rather to suppress 
his inventive genius. Ericsson could get no recognition or 
assistance from the government when he presented his 
design of the Monitor. She was built by private capital, and 
her builders assumed all the risk, and it is stated that at the 



time she fought the Merrimac and helped to save the United 
States from being divided internally, she was on a builder's 
trial and had not been accepted or paid for by the govern- 
ment. All readers of the life of Ericsson are familiar with 
the lack of consideration he received from the naval authori- 
ties of the United States at that time, and that his epoch- 
making invention was derided as a " cheese-box on a raft." 
It was strange that he received such little consideration, as 
at the time of his arrival in America he was an engineer 
of note and while still a young man had built the wonderful 
canals of Sweden. I had never really appreciated Ericsson's 
great engineering ability until I made a journey over these 
canals, which are virtually carried up over mountains, and 
offer one of the most interesting European trips a tourist 
can make. Maxim had to go to England and Hotchkiss to 
France to get their guns adopted. Sir Hiram Maxim told 
me of the heartbreaking time he spent in his native country, 
America — he was born in Maine — trying to get his inven- 
tions properly developed, and the lack of consideration he 
received here by our own government officers, while in Eng- 
land, on the contrary, he was received with open arms. The 
late King Edward visited him, and the English took up his 
invention and knighted him. 

The Wright Brothers' first recognition and the first dollar 
they ever received as profits in their years of experimental 
effort came from France. I remember well when Wilbur 
Wright came to France with his flying machine and secured 
the recognition that the Wright Brothers had not been able 
to secure in the United States, their native country. The 
Wright Brothers and their and our own European repre- 
sentative, Mr. Hart O. Berg, occupied for a time one of the 



rooms in our suite of offices in Regent Street, London, as 
their headquarters, and I am therefore familiar with some 
of their difficulties in getting recognition in this country. 

It has been said that Americans invent and the Euro- 
peans develop. This statement seems to be borne out in 
fact, so far as our military inventions at least are concerned. 
From the time the Wrights first introduced the flying 
machine in Europe all the important countries over there 
have been consistently assisting inventors in improving the 
construction of the planes and machinery for driving them, 
while our own country has stood almost at a standstill. Our 
government gave no aid to foster this American invention 
so that it could be gradually developed, but rather our 
authorities made the first requirements so difficult to fulfil 
that there was no incentive to work; which is a mistake 
often made by men with a theoretical rather than a practical 
education. A practical man may evolve something radically 
new in the arts or sciences, but to get it introduced into the 
government service it must first be passed upon and approved 
by men who at the country's expense have received, for the 
most part, a purely theoretical education ; and nine times out 
of ten these men get some additional theories of their own 
which they insist must be incorporated in the machine or 
apparatus, and thus make it impossible of operation or delay 
its accomplishment. It is probably due to this cause that we 
are now forced to go to France for plans of our aeroplanes 
and their driving machinery to enable us to compete with 
the Germans' machines. 

What is the reason for this lamentable state of affairs 
in respect to American military inventions? I believe that 
I can partially explain it. I believe it is because our army 



and navy officers are too busy with the routine of their pro- 
fession to give the necessary time to a thorough investi- 
gation of devices other than those with which they are 
forced to become familiar by their training. I believe that 
there is not a single fundamental invention which has 
emanated from an army or navy officer during his service, 
although it is true that such men have made some improve- 
ments upon devices in their hands, based upon working ex- 
perience. Their education and routine require them to be 
well-informed as to the proved devices of which they make 
use in the service. On looking over the volume of text-books, 
rules and regulations covering in the most minute details 
all the methods of construction, tests of strength, chemical 
analyses, etc., with which officers are obliged to become famil- 
iar, I can fully appreciate the fact that they are too highly 
educated in the knowledge of accepted devices to be able 
to find time to look into the future. 

I believe that the present Secretary of the Navy, Mr. 
Josephus Daniels, in his creation of a civilian board of 
advisers to the navy to pass upon new inventions of value 
to the navy, has taken an important step in the protection 
of this country; the creation of this board I consider one of 
the greatest achievements of the present administration. 

The few inventions which have gained sufficient early 
recognition and have received governmental aid in their 
development have usually been forced on the Army or 
Navy by either political or financial interests. The intrigue 
and lobbying conducted in Washington to secure exclusive 
privileges would make volumes of interesting and spicy 
reading, and it is possible that the knowledge of these well- 
known intrigues makes officers very chary in recommending 



or taking up devices that may appear to have merit. The 
usual answer to inventors of untried devices who offer their 
plans to the government has been, " Well, if you try it out 
and it proves successful, we will then consider it " ; and in 
such a case should the inventor have no means or financial 
backing the invention is lost to the United States and is 
adopted abroad. 

This policy is " penny wise and pound foolish " when it 
so directly affects the safety of the nation. I was informed 
by Mr. Otto Exius, the managing director of the great 
Krupp Works in Germany, that the Imperial German Gov- 
ernment has followed a far different method in fostering 
inventions that might be of benefit to the state. Mr. Exius 
informed me that when they undertook the development of 
a new invention for the purposes of national defence the 
government paid them for the cost of all material used and 
allowed them a sufficient percentage over labor costs to 
cover their overhead, plus a fair amount of profit. This 
probably accounts for the fact that Germany to-day is far 
ahead of us in her development of engines for the military 
submarine. There is no gainsaying the fact that the policy 
of our government has been to make up an ideally perfect 
weapon and then invite manufacturers to bid for the work. 
They have thus thrown the burden of development upon 
individual firms, many of whom have been forced into 
bankruptcy in their patriotic desire to furnish acceptable 
devices to the government. 

We have the inventive genius in this country to create and 
originate new machines and new methods of manufacture. 
In most commercial and industrial lines we are able to 
maintain a leading position, but in devices designed for the 



national defence we originate, and other nations develop and 
profit. Had we supported our inventors and held within 
this country as far as possible the knowledge of their de- 
vices, and withheld the secrets of their work from foreign 
powers, as indeed we should have, the United States to-day 
would be in a position of military effectiveness very different 
from that in which we are found. All this is due to the fact 
that the government does not foster and protect our newly 
created devices, and to-day we are behind the continental 
powers in our gunnery, our airplanes, in our dirigibles, and 
in our submarine engines, as well as in many other auxiliaries 
necessary to our national protection. 

I feel that it lies within the province of the civilian 
board to correct the mistakes in our governmental policy, 
provided, of course, that Congress makes suitable appropria- 
tions to enable it to carry on investigations in a proper 
manner and to protect the inventors who submit new and 
original ideas. At the time Secretary Daniels created the 
board I wrote him, in part, as follows: 

" I notice by to-day's New York Herald that you are pro- 
posing to appoint an ' advisory board of civilian inventors 
for a Bureau of Invention and Development,' to be created in 
the Navy Department, and that you have asked Mr. Thomas 
A. Edison to be the chairman of said board. 

" I wish to congratulate you upon this conception. I 
believe such a board, if its work is properly systematized, 
can be made of great and permanent value to the nation. 

" Many illustrations could be found in which other 
nations have been the first to take up and reap the benefit 
from American inventions. It is doubtful if Morse, Edison, 
Bell, the Wrights, or any other pioneer American inventors 



have received any reward whatever from many countries 
whose own citizens have grown rich and prosperous by tak- 
ing up and manufacturing American inventions without 
giving consideration to them. 

" When I first submitted my plans of a submarine boat 
to the Navy Department in 1893 I had no company back of 
me and did not make a proposition to the department to 
build a boat. I suggested to them that I would cooperate 
with the Navy Department in a way satisfactory to them. 

" My hope was, at that time, as I was only a youngster, 
to receive some sort of a commission in the United States 
Navy and to be placed in charge of the development of the 
submarine, but the submarine was a discredited machine in 
those days, and after I had spent several days in trying to 
interest the authorities at that time in my proposition I failed, 
and felt very much discouraged, and did not again return to 
the Navy Department until called there in 1901 by a telegram 
from Senator Hale, who was then chairman of the Senate 
Navy Committee. 

" Since that time I have been offered a splendid position 
with very, large financial backing if I would take charge of 
the development of submarines for a foreign government. 
This I refused to do, because I had a natural desire to receive 
some recognition in my own country. 

" The principal aim and ambition in my life has been 
to be able to make sufficient money to endow an institution 
for the protection of American inventors. 

" I tried to interest Enoch Pratt in this scheme twenty- 
three years ago in Baltimore. I have given a great deal of 
thought to such an institution. It does not look now as if 
I should be able to carry out my plans. If I had had suffi- 



cient financial backing in the early days of my experiments 
and development of the submarine to have protected myself 
fully by foreign patents, all of the European countries to-day 
would be paying me royalties, as they are all using a number 
of features in their boats which I originated. 

" While I regret that the probabilities are that I will not 
be able to carry out my ambition, your proposition would, 
if carried out, go a long way toward improving the oppor- 
tunities of American inventors to secure proper recognition 
of their inventive genius so far as they could be applied to 
the protection of the nation. 

" I can, however, foresee certain oppositions to this 
scheme: first, there will be opposition from the vested 
interests who have held for years control of certain lines 
of manufactured articles and material used in the service. 

" The scheme would also fail unless it would be possible 
for this board to secure the entire confidence of the American 
inventors. Very few inventors have had large business 
experience or know how to protect themselves from the 
various parasites who thrive upon them. 

"A man gets an ideaj — it may be an old one, but he 
considers it original — and becomes obsessed with the idea 
that he has made a great discovery. He may be a farmer, 
a mechanic, a clergyman, or any other form of good Ameri- 
can citizen; but not an experienced business man. In many 
cases he becomes a prey to people who live entirely upon 
their wits and the inexperience of others. 

" First, if he is unfortunate enough to fall in the hands 
of an unscrupulous patent attorney, he will get all the money 
he can out of him by securing him a worthless patent. Prob- 
ably 75 per cent, of the patents issued are not worth the 



paper they are written upon. After securing the patents he 
will then give up his farm or his position, take his savings 
and go to New York or some other city, and fall into the 
hands of an unscrupulous promoter, who makes the inventor 
believe he can place his patents, or, if he has a good invention 
and falls into the hands of an unscrupulous promoter, the 
invention is taken away from him, or he is given a mere 
pittance for it. 

" I know of one case where an inventor of one of the 
most successful typewriting machines on the market, who 
spent his life in developing it, is receiving the munificent sum 
of eleven cents from each machine as a royalty. There is a 
large number of these machines being manufactured, and of 
course he is receiving a comfortable income even at this small 
rate, but the promoter who had nothing to do with its orig- 
ination and who only happened to know the capitalists to go 
to, and the capitalists, are receiving a princely income. 

" So many instances of inventors being deprived of a 
fair remuneration for their inventions have occurred that 
as a class it will be found that many of them will hesitate 
to submit their ideas to the board. 

" I have received many letters from inventors throughout 
the country who had all sorts of schemes for improving 
submarine boats, for detecting their presence under water, 
for destroying them, for protecting battleships against them, 
etc. In some cases they were accompanied by plans and 
descriptions, and they are usually old ideas, in many cases 
already patented. In other instances I have received letters 
stating that they had ideas which they would submit to me 
if I would pass upon them or cooperate with them in develop- 
ing or introducing them to the Navy Department. My prac- 



tice has always been to refuse to consider any device or 
invention unless the inventor had made application for a 
patent, as I did not want to be accused of taking another 
man's ideas, as he might submit to me ideas similar to my 
own and which I might have already had either patents 
pending in the Patent Office for same, or had made similar 
plans upon which I might expect to take out a patent at 
some future time. 

" This feeling of uncertainty may cause inventors to 
hesitate to send their ideas in, but I think that could be 
overcome by having certain rules of procedure ; that is, any 
idea submitted must be put into form, sworn to as original 
by the man who submitted it, which must be attested by 
witnesses. It could then be sent to examiners — first, to find 
out if it was an original idea ; second, to find out if it was a 
mechanically operative idea ; and, third, to find out if there 
was any need for such a device. 

" I think your naming Mr. Edison as the head of such a 
bureau will go a long ways toward creating confidence in the 
mind of the inventors, that they would receive proper con- 
sideration. Most every one knows of Mr. Edison's perse- 
verance in his early days in getting his inventions upon the 
market. A great many people know that he himself has not 
received a fraction of the reward that he is entitled to 
because of his great inventions. He is, without doubt, the 
greatest inventor the United States has produced. While 
I have never met Mr. Edison personally, I have always been 
a great admirer of him, because he is the man most respon- 
sible for raising the title of ' inventor ' from that of crank 
to that of honor. I was such an admirer of him in my youth 

10 145 


that I named my son after him. I do not think you could 
have made a better choice than he to head this bureau. 

"If the bureau is organized, permit me to suggest that 
there should be some definite inducement held out to the 
inventors in the way of a royalty compensation or some other 
form of compensation for such ideas as the government 
might take up and utilize. The plan which I had in mind 
for my inventors' institution was to erect buildings, machine 
shops, laboratories, with a staff of patent experts, drafts- 
men, and engineers, so that the crude idea could first be 
investigated to see if it was original, then passed on to the 
engineers, who would cooperate with the inventor, and they 
would see that proper plans were made covering the proper 
kinds and strength of material to accomplish the purpose, 
and then it would be sent to the shops, all this work being 
charged up to the invention, or to the inventor if he was in 
a position to pay for it, at cost. 

" The institution would, in consideration of its placing 
all these facilities available to the inventor, receive a certain 
percentage for its part of the work. In that way a properly 
endowed institution would probably be self-supporting. It 
might be possible to work that idea into your scheme. Take, 
as an illustration, the submarine boats. Something new and 
revolutionary might be introduced in the way of propulsive 
means which would enable submarines to make very much 
greater speed, both on the surface and submerged. As 
soon as the submarine has the speed of a battleship, it will 
be able to drive the battleship from the seas. Without 
battleships to cover the landing of troops from trans- 
ports, no invasion of one country by another country, from 



the sea, can be made. Therefore, no more wars between 
maritime countries. 

" Such a propulsive means, therefore, will become a great 
and valuable adjunct to any nation. If the government 
developed such a machine it would be only right for them 
to pay a royalty to the inventor. On the other hand, this 
same machine would undoubtedly be very valuable for a 
great many other industrial purposes. If it was used for 
other purposes, it would only be right that the inventor pay 
the government in return a royalty or percentage of his 
profits in consideration of the government having developed 
it for him. 

" I hope you will not think I am officious in offering these 
suggestions. Having given so much thought to the matter 
in the line as above referred to, I felt that you were entitled 
to have my thoughts for what they were worth. 

" I certainly hope you will be able to get the support of 
Congress, the naval officers, and the inventors in carrying 
this scheme through to a successful conclusion, which, if 
done, I believe will be one of the greatest constructive pieces 
of legislation accomplished in years." 

A larger institution along the same lines might well be 
endowed by a number of America's bright business men 
who have made fortunes based upon the ideas of some poor, 
unsophisticated inventor who has not been brought up to 
worship wealth, but who had an original idea of value to the 
world and to the individuals who had the business capacity 
to get the money out of it. 

Original ideas are creations, and the creation of ideas 
may become possible by constant study and research. In 



this class are all the professional inventors ; but many good 
ideas are spontaneous and occur in brains not educated along 
mechanical or scientific lines. The establishment of such an 
institution as above outlined would conserve these spon- 
taneous inventions for the benefit of the nation, as well as 
assist the professional inventor in his research. 


Among the many submarines which were built previous 
to the beginning of the present century, very few taught 
lessons of positive value, for the great majority of these 
experimental craft were total failures. Knowledge of the 
causes of their failures is important, however, because it 
teaches us what errors in construction to avoid. Practically 
all of these early submarines were built secretly ; when fail- 
ures resulted the vessels were abandoned and the results 
of such trials were not published, consequently the succeed- 
ing designers were very apt to make the same mistakes. 

It was not until the past decade that any general descrip- 
tion of many of the early submarines was published and made 
available to students of this problem. In looking over the 
published plans and descriptions of a number of those early 
submarines, I have been convinced that many lives and much 
capital could have been saved had the results of the various 
experiments been openly disclosed for the guidance of later 

The desire to navigate in the depths of the sea has pos- 
sessed the minds of many men since the beginning of history, 
and even at very early times several crude submarines were 
devised in the attempt to solve the problem. But, as I have 
related in the preceding chapter, it was not until the period 
of the war between England and her American colonists 
that any important progress was made. Bushnell's little 
submarine, called the American Turtle, was built at that 



time. It took its name from its shape, which resembled the 
back shells of two turtles joined together. 

From the rather complete description of this vessel con- 
tained in one of Dr. Bushnell's letters, it appears to have 
been propelled by a screw propeller to obtain forward or 
reverse motion. It was ballasted in such a manner as to 
give the vessel great inherent stability. It had water ballast 
tanks which could be filled to give the vessel negative buoy- 
ancy, if desired, or to reduce the positive buoyancy so much 
that the vessel could be readily drawn under water by an- 
other screw propeller which was operated by a vertical shaft 
extending through a stuffing box into the vessel. This 
submarine carried a mine on its back, and provision was 
made to enable the operator inside the submarine to attach 
the mine to the bottom of a ship at anchor. This vessel was 
regulated in such a way that the mine could be exploded by a 
clockwork mechanism after the submarine had reached a 
safe distance from the vessel. 

With this submarine a mine was placed under the bottom 
of the English frigate Eagle, anchored in New York Bay, 
but the mine drifted clear before the clockwork mechanism 
caused it to explode, otherwise the frigate would undoubt- 
edly have been destroyed. General Washington compli- 
mented Dr. Bushnell on having so nearly succeeded in his 
attempt to sink the ship. 

This submarine was unquestionably a successful model. 
It had one important feature that many designers have 
failed to appreciate, and that was great inherent stability. 
Great stability in a submarine means the carrying out of the 
now popular maxim " Safety First." Sufficient static sta- 
bility is a guarantee that during all the manoeuvring evolu- 



Made after she was recovered and hoisted on the dock years after the war. 
(Drawing by R. S. Skerrett.) 


tions of a submarine she will always remain right side up 
and not dive into the bottom unless the hull is punctured or 
flooded at one end or the other. 

Bushnell's model was not suited to high speed, but high 
speed was not essential in the days of the sailing ship. If 
this design had been developed further, so that several men 
could have been used to operate the propeller, it should have 
given a good account of itself. 

Robert Fulton's boat, to which I also have made refer- 
ence in the foregoing chapter, differed from Bushnell's in 
its method of submerged control, which was by vertical and 
horizontal rudders at the stern. It also carried a collapsible 
mast on which a sail could be spread for surface navigation. 

A Bavarian by the name of Bauer built a submarine in 
1850. Its method of control was by shifting a weight for- 
ward to dive and aft to rise. It was a flat-sided and flat- 
decked vessel with comparatively thin plating and entirely 
unsuited to resist the pressure of the water at any consider- 
able depth. It collapsed in the harbor of Kiel during one of 
its trial trips. Bauer kept his presence of mind, however, 
and when sufficient water had entered and raised the trapped 
air pressure inside of the boat equal to the pressure outside, 
he opened the hatch and swam to the surface. This vessel 
remained partly buried in the mud into which it had sunk 
until 1887, when it was located during the deepening of 
Kiel harbor and taken to Berlin, where it is now kept in 
the Museum of Oceanography as an exhibit of Germany's 
first submarine. 

No further important advance was made in the art of 
submarine navigation until the period of the Civil War, 
when the Confederates built several small submarines, called 



" Davids." One of these was called the Hunley, after her 
designer. During her brief career she suffocated or drowned 
thirty-two men, including her designer. 

During my early experiments with the Argonaut in 1898 
I received a visit from Col. Charles H. Hasker, of Richmond, 
Virginia, who explained in detail the method of operating 
the Hunley. She was a cylindrical-shaped craft, about 
thirty feet long and six feet in diameter, with both bow and 
stern flattened to form a stem and stern-post, respectively. 
Water-ballast compartments were located in either end of 
the vessel. She was propelled by eight men, who turned 
the cranked propeller shaft by hand. These men sat on 
benches on either side of the shaft. She had the usual 
vertically hung rudder aft, and a diving rudder forward 
to incline her bow down for diving, or to raise her bow 
to bring her to the surface (see page 150). Unfortunately 
she lacked longitudinal stability, and during her experi- 
mental trials twice dove head first into the bottom. Of 
her experience I have given an account elsewhere. 

The lesson to be learned from the disastrous trials of 
this vessel was that sufficient statical stability should 
always be secured to prevent the vessel taking on an ex- 
cessive inclination due to shifting of water ballast or 
movement of crew. 

Another submarine built by the Confederates shows a 
much safer design. It is shown as the New Orleans sub- 
marine. According to the story told by a native of New 
Orleans, this vessel was built during the Civil War to 
destroy the Northern ships. The story of her launching 
has been given in a foregoing chapter. 

It is evident that the designer of this vessel miscalculated 



and made his boat so much overweight- that she could not be 
given sufficient buoyancy to bring her to the surface by the 
means provided. From a study of the form of this vessel, 
she should have been very stable, and I am of the opinion 
that she could have been successfully navigated submerged 
had she been properly ballasted. 

During the years 1863 and 1864, Messrs. Bourgois and 
Brun brought out for the French Navy the largest and, in 
some respects, the most completely equipped submarine that 
was produced during the nineteenth century. This was 
Le Plongeur, a vessel about one hundred and forty feet long, 

Conning I&mtr . . 

.f,f r t. .—-j^f.-.- .Hrfto >■ ... 



This vessel was built by Messrs. Bourgois and Brun in 1864 and was backed 
by the French Government. She was the largest and the most costly vessel built 
in the attempt to solve the problem of successful submarine navigation up to about 
the beginning of the 20th century. (See text.) 

ten feet depth, and twenty feet beam, with a displacement 
of over four hundred tons. Her motive power consisted 
of compressed-air engines of eighty horsepower. The com- 
pressed air was carried in air tanks at a pressure of one 
hundred and eighty pounds per square inch. It is reported 
that the capacity of the air tanks exceeded one hundred 
and forty cubic metres. 

Her submerged control system consisted of the usual 
water-ballast tanks for reducing the vessel's surface buoy- 
ancy preparatory to submerging. The final adjustment of 
displacement was to be effected by means of cylinders which 
could be forced out through stuffing boxes to increase her 



displacement or withdrawn to reduce her displacement. It 
was hoped that by manipulating these cylinders she could be 
put in equilibrium with the water she displaced, and that 
she could then be steered in any desired direction by the 
vertical and horizontal rudders placed at her stern. 

Theoretically this is an ideal method for submerged 
control, but in practice it works out badly, especially when 
a vessel has little stability, for the reason that there are so 
many disturbing influences to cause the vessel to take on 
dangerous angles in diving. If free surfaces exist in the 
water-ballast tanks, the slightest change from a level keel 
causes the water to flow to the lower end of the ballast 
tank. This is apt to augment the inclination still further, 
and cause the vessel to dive, or, vice versa, to broach. The 
density of the water also varies, especially where fresh- 
water rivers empty into salt water. At times quite different 
densities are found at various depths. The fresh water 
and salt water, instead of rapidly mixing, seem to have a 
tendency to remain in strata which extend, in some cases, 
considerable distances off shore. Therefore it is practically 
impossible to secure and maintain a vessel in perfect equilib- 
rium. The movement of the crew forward and aft, or the 
effect of the sea, which imparts a vertical motion to the 
water beneath the surface, all tend to destroy both trim and 
equilibrium to such an extent that many failures have 
resulted in vessels of this type. 

Le Plongeur was no exception to this rule, because it 

was found impossible to control her depth when running 

submerged, and she would either dive into the bottom or 

broach to the surface. One report stated that even in depths 

of thirty feet she would make progress "by alternately 



striking the bottom and then rebound to the surface like an 
elastic india-rubber ball." 

One other novel feature introduced in Le Plongeur was 
an " escape boat," which was carried on top of the main 
hull, to which it was secured by bolts. A double hatch 
connected the submarine and the escape boat together. In 
case the submarine became disabled or entangled in wreckage 
and could not be brought to the surface, the crew could 
enter through double hatches into the escape boat, secure the 
bottom hatch, and by turning the securing bolts from the 
interior release the escape boat and ascend to the surface. 

Mr. O. S. Halstead, of Newark, New Jersey, completed, 
in 1866, a submarine vessel on which the United States 
Government made a partial payment. This vessel is known 
as the Intelligent Whale, and is now installed as a per- 
manent exhibit on the Green at the Brooklyn Navy Yard, 
New York. The vessel had a vertical and horizontal rudder 
at the stern for submerged control. According to official 
reports, she must have functioned fairly well when 

One of the features of this vessel consisted in its ability 
to be converted into a diving bell when resting on the 
bottom. A large trap-door was arranged in the bottom of 
the vessel. After filling the whole interior of the vessel 
with compressed air equal in pressure to the pressure of 
the water at the bottom of the vessel, the trap-door could 
be opened and the air pressure would keep the water from 
rising, the. same as in a diving bell. 

A study of this vessel shows that she must have been a 
very stable craft and not likely to dive at an excessive angle 
or to stand on end, as was the tendency of many of the early 



diving boats. A report signed by Gen. T. W. Sweeny, 
U. S. A., and Col. John Michal, Col. T. R. Tresilian, 
and Major R. C. Bocking, engineers, strongly endorsed 
this vessel. 

On the strength of the above-mentioned reports and en- 
dorsements, the government, through the Navy Department, 
appointed a commission composed of Commodore C. M. 
Smith, Commodore Augustus L. Chase, Chief of Bureau of 
Ordnance, and Edward O. Mathews, Chief of the Torpedo 
Board, "to examine, inspect, and report on the merit of 
said boaj:." As the report of this commission confirmed the 
capacity and efficiency of the boat for submarine purposes, 
the government made a contract for her purchase for the 
sum of $50,000 (£10,250). 

The contract specified certain conditions which were to 
be fulfilled before the final payment was made, one of which 
was that Halstead should " write out fully and describe, 
without reservation, all the inventions, secrets, and con- 
trivances necessary to enable any competent person or per- 
sons to operate and manage said boat as contemplated, de- 
sired, or designed, more especially the methods of furnishing, 
managing, controlling, purifying, and renewing the air when 
and in quantity as needed, so as to enable those in the boat to 
descend and ascend or remain under water any reasonable 
length of time ; also, to open the doors in the bottom of the 
boat and keep the water from coming therein at any reason- 
able and regulated depth." For this information Halstead 
was to receive such further sum as a board of officers might 
grant. Halstead was to have the further right to apply to 
Congress for additional compensation. 

In carrying out the provisions of the contract, the gov- 



ernment, on May 27, 1870, took over the Intelligent Whale 
and then paid $12,050 (£2,470) on account of the contract. 
Shortly after this Halstead was instantly killed. Differ- 
ences then arose between Halstead's heirs and others who 
claimed an interest in the contract. It does not appear that 
anything further was ever done with the boat to carry out 
the terms of the contract. She lay neglected for years on the 
old " Cob dock " in the Brooklyn Navy Yard, but was 
recently erected as an exhibit on the Green. 

Some years later that famous inventor, Mr. J. P. Holland, 
brought out a submarine vessel called the Fenian Ram. This 
vessel was about thirty feet long and six feet in diameter. 
She was navigated, when submerged, by the use of vertical 
and horizontal rudders located at the stern. The novel 
feature introduced in the vessel was an under-water air-gun 
which was designed to fire a shell under water. 

Mr. Holland was originally a school teacher in Ireland, 
from which country he was exiled because of his political 
beliefs. On coming to the United States he became affiliated 
with the Fenian movement. Previous to his construction of 
the Fenian Ram Mr. Holland built experimentally a small 
one-man boat. The money to build the Fenian Ram was sub- 
scribed by the " Clan-na-Gael " and other Irish patriotic 
societies, and an associate of Mr. Holland recently informed 
me that over $200,000 (£41,000) was subscribed to enable 
Mr. Holland to carry on his experiments. After the collapse 
of the Fenian movement the Fenian Ram was towed up to 
New Haven, Connecticut, and hauled out on the banks of the 
Mill River, where it has lain ever since, hidden under a 
pile of lumber. 

One of the former leaders of the Fenians informed me 



that the scheme was to build a number of submarines of 
about the size of the Ram. They were to have been carried 
across the Atlantic in a special ship with water-tight com- 
partments extending below the water line, into which the 
submarines were to have been floated and a sea door closed. 
On arrival on the English coast, this special ship, which was 
apparently a harmless merchantman, was to locate the 
British war vessels in some one of the harbors, sail in and 
anchor near them; then the little submarines were to be 
released from their mother ship and proceed to sink as 
many of the British ships as they could by firing explosive 
shells into them below the water line. The novelty of such 
an attack was relied upon to spread consternation among 
the British fleet and thus enable the submarines to escape. 

In 1878 Mr. G. W. Garrett, of Liverpool, took out a 
patent and constructed a small boat whose equilibrium was to 
have been maintained by the admission of water into a cylin- 
der and forcing it out by a piston. In 1879, Mr. Garrett 
brought out a larger vessel, called the Resurgam, in which 
his means of control were forward diving rudders similar 
to those of the Confederate Hunley. The novel feature 
of this vessel was the installation of a very large steam boiler 
in which sufficient heat could be stored to enable the vessel 
to make a submerged run of several miles after the 
fires were shut down. This vessel was lost during her 
experimental trials. 

Mr. Garrett then interested Mr. Nordenfelt, the inventor 
of the celebrated Nordenfelt gun, in his boat. Mr. Norden- 
felt improved upon Garrett's boat and built vessels for 
Greece, Turkey, and Russia. His first boat was sixty-four 
feet in length by nine feet beam, with a displacement of 



about sixty tons. The method of submerged control, which 
he devised, consisted of the use of two downhaul screws 
located in sponsons on either side of the vessel. These 
screws were operated by bevel gears and were run at suffi- 
cient speed to overcome the reserve of buoyancy. The 
vessel was intended to be always operated with a reserve 
of buoyancy. To submerge, therefore, it was necessary to 
run the propellers at a speed sufficient to exert a thrust to 
overcome this buoyancy and pull her bodily under water. 
After reaching the desired depth, forward motion was then 
to be given by the usual screw propeller, and she was ex- 
pected to make progress on a level keel and in a horizontal 
plane. The level keel was to have been maintained by the 
use of a horizontal rudder placed in the bow. 

This method of submerged control for submarine vessels 
of moderate speed seems to me to be an excellent one in 
principle. I have been surprised that further development 
has not been made along these lines. I think the final 
abandonment of the Nordenfelt type of vessel was due to 
failure in carrying out the details of design rather than to 
faulty basic principles. A former chief engineer of 
Mr. Nordenfelt informed me that the heat from the large 
amount of hot water stored up in the reservoirs — for sub- 
merged power — made the interior of the vessels almost 
unbearable for the crew when the hatches were shut down, 
and that he did not believe the submarines ever made any 
submerged runs after being delivered. I also judge, from 
his description of his experiences with the vessels, that they 
lacked longitudinal stability and were difficult to hold in 
the horizontal position, which Mr. Nordenfelt claimed was 
a sine qua non for a submarine boat. I concur in this claim. 



In an article on his boats, Mr. Nordenfelt stated that 
they were very sensitive, and that he had purposely made 
them so in order that the horizontal rudder might easily 
maintain the boat in a horizontal position. My experience 
has led me to prefer great statical stability rather than 

Mr. Nordenfelt's boats had means for discharging the 
smoke from the fires under the water. This was done so 
as not to betray the submarine's position to surface vessels. 
He also seems to have been the first to incorporate 
torpedo tubes within his hull for the discharge of the 
Whitehead torpedo. 

The Spanish Lieut. Isaac Peral built, in 1887, a vessel in 
which the motive power was supplied from electric accu- 
mulators. It was operated by the usual vertical and hori- 
zontal rudders. Its submerged control was bad, but its 
electric propulsive system worked well. 

Mons. Goubet built several small boats during the period 
from 1885 to 1890 with a propeller which worked on a uni- 
versal joint so arranged that the direction of thrust could 
be changed to drive the boat under water or to bring her 
to the surface when submerged. This propeller took the 
place of the usual vertical and horizontal rudders. 

Prof. Josiah L. Tuck built, in 1885, a vessel called 
the Peacemaker, the novel feature of which consisted 
of a " caustic soda " boiler for generating steam for 
submerged work. 

In 1886 a Mr. Waddington, of England, brought out a 
small electric accumulator boat with downhaul screws 
arranged in vertical tubes. He also used side rudders to 
assist in control of depth. It is reported that this vessel 



functioned quite successfully, but she was abandoned, 
and Mr. Waddington does not seem to have developed 
anything further. 

In 1892 George H. Baker brought out an egg-shaped 
vessel which he ran submerged by the use of side propellers 
driven by bevel gears. These propellers were carried in 
frames so that they could be inclined to exert a thrust down- 
ward or upward, or at any desired angle so as to pull the 
boat downward and drive her forward at the same time. 
This was an improvement over Nordenfelt's side propellers, 
which ran on fixed vertical shafts. This vessel functioned 
fairly satisfactorily at slow speeds, but neither the form 
nor driving mechanism was suitable for the higher speeds 
required by modern practice. 

A number of other boats were built, but there does not 
appear to be anything new in principle in them. 

This brings us up to 1893, when the United States 
Government made an appropriation of $200,000 (£41,000) 
for a submarine boat and advertised for inventors to submit 
designs. This was the first time that it was officially recog- 
nized in this country that there might be possibilities in this 
type of boat. Most of the naval officers, however, were very 
sceptical of the practicability of such craft, and, from the 
conservative point of view, they were perhaps justified, as no 
satisfactory boat had been built up to that time. 

A program of requirements, which undoubtedly would 
produce a weapon valuable for defence, was made up by the 
Navy Department, and these requirements were designated 
in the following order of importance : 

1. Safety. 

2. Facility and certainty of action when submerged. 
11 161 


3. Speed when running- on the surface. 

4. Speed when submerged. 

5. Endurance, both submerged and on the surface. 

6. Offensive power. 

7. Stability. 

8. Visibility of object to be attacked. 

This standard of accomplishments is as important to-day 
as when it was first promulgated. 

This first appropriation was brought about by a recom- 
mendation to Congress, made by Commander Folger, Chief 
of Ordnance, who had been much impressed with the possi- 
bilities of submarines after witnessing a test of the Baker 
boat in Lake Michigan. Commander G. A. Converse, presi- 
dent of the Torpedo Board, also made a report certifying 
that it was his belief that a larger vessel operating on the 
Baker principles would, with some modifications, prove 
valuable for defensive and offensive purposes. 

France at this date was the only other country which 
was giving official encouragement to the development of the 
submarine. She was conducting experiments with the 
Gymnote, a small vessel of the diving type, and had under 
construction a much larger vessel to be operated on the 
same principle. This vessel was afterward called the 
Gustave Zede, but she did not go into commission for some 
time, as her submerged control was found to be bad. One 
report of her trials states that, " with the committee of engi- 
neers on board, her performance in attempting to keep 
an even depth line was most erratic, and frequently a 
thirty-degree inclination was reached before the boat 
could be brought up. On one occasion she hit the bot- 



torn in ten fathoms with sufficient force to unseat the 
engineering experts." 

The Gymnote was five feet ten inches in diameter amid- 
ships and fifty-nine feet ten inches in length. The Gustave 
ZSdS was ten feet nine inches in diameter and one hundred 
forty-eight feet long. It is very difficult to secure suffi- 
cient metacentric height in a boat of the above proportions, 
which probably accounted largely for their erratic behavior 
when submerged. 

In response to the United States Government's advertise- 
ment for designs of submarine boats, only three inventors 
submitted plans and specifications. These were Mr. George 
C. Baker, Mr. J. P. Holland, and myself. Mr. Baker sub- 
mitted designs of a boat sixty feet in length and of about one 
hundred and twenty tons displacement. This vessel was 
expected to have a speed of about eight miles per hour. The 
method of submerged control and known characteristics 
were the same as have already been described in connection 
with his boat as built in 1892. Mr. Holland proposed to 
build a vessel eighty-five feet in length, eleven and one-half 
feet in diameter, of one hundred and sixty-eight tons sub- 
merged displacement, and of one hundred and .fifty-four 
tons light displacement. This gave a surface " reserve of 
buoyancy " of only fourteen tons, or less than ten per cent. 
The method of control was by the use of vertical and horizon- 
tal rudders on the same principle as was used in his Fenian 
Ram, described above. 

In 1897 Mr. Holland published in Cassier's Magazine 
an article on submarine navigation, giving some of his ex- 
periences with the Fenian Ram. This article explains very 
well the state of the art of submarine navigation in 1893. 



One of the early difficulties encountered was how to know 
the direction one was going when submerged. Referring 
to his experience in the Fenian Ram, Mr. Holland said: 

" Experience with submarine boats had been so very 
limited up to 1881 that more difficulty in steering a straight 
course by compass while submerged than while moving on 
the surface was scarcely expected. The writer had no sus- 
picion that his boat could not be steered perfectly until he 
had tried it after making about half a dozen preliminary 
dives to adjust the automatic apparatus. Having become 
doubtful of the reliability of the compass, he had it carefully 
compensated, and then made a trial submerged run in New 
York Harbor, heading the vessel toward a point which he 
knew was about twelve minutes' run distant. 

" The boat dived at an inclination of about fifteen de- 
grees, and it was noticed that when she again reached a 
horizontal position the compass needle swung around a 
complete circle and vibrated a good deal before coming to 
rest. The boat was then discovered to be about ninety 
degrees off her course. It was steered again in the proper 
direction, and then inclined upward at a sharp angle to find 
whether the action of the compass would be as erratic while 
rising as while running downward. One end of the needle 
dipped to the bottom of the cup when beginning the ascent, 
and remained there during the rise. When the boat ap- 
proached a horizontal position, a few feet below the surface, 
the needle swung around as violently as it had done during 
the boat's descent, and then came to rest again at a point 
that indicated the boat to be far off the true course. 

" As it appeared quite clear that the run was not made 
in the direction intended, and that about one mile must have 



been covered from the start, ten minutes having already 
passed, the boat was brought to the surface of the water 
just in time to prevent her from running on rocks that lay 
about twenty yards straight ahead and sixty yards down 
from the starting point. 

" The boat had been started to run over one mile up 
stream, and the mile-run ended sixty yards down stream, 
with the boat heading exactly opposite to her original direc- 
tion. This erratic action of the compass was discovered 
to be due to heeling, or inclining from the horizontal posi- 
tion, and that it could not be corrected in that boat on account 
of the near proximity to the compass needle of considerable 
masses of iron that were liable to have their position changed 
while the vessel was submerged." 

To overcome the above-mentioned difficulties, Mr. Hol- 
land invented a device and was granted a patent (No. 
492,960) for a triangular drag, which was expected to keep 
the vessel on a true course when under water. This triangu- 
lar drag was the novel feature of Mr. Holland's 1893 design, 
and was intended automatically to steer the vessel on a 
straight course when submerged. It was intended to operate 
on the following ingenious principle : 

While the vessel was running on the surface the steering 
gear was under the control of the steersman. In this 
condition the compass could be adjusted, as the vessel 
was on a substantially level keel and the masses of 
metal remained fixed in their relation to the compass, 
but when the vessel was caused to dive the masses of 
metal changed their relation to the adjusting magnets 
and the compass was thrown out of true. Therefore, 
on beginning a dive the vessel was first started on the 



surface on the course it was intended to follow sub- 
merged until the triangular drag, being drawn through the 
water, assumed a direction parallel to the axial line of the 
boat by reason of the rush of water against said drag, and 
especially against the rib thereon. As soon as the boat was 
on her course the steersman was expected to disconnect his 
hand steering gear and allow the drag to control the rudder 
to hold her to her original course. Mr. Holland maintained 
that any departure from a straight line would cause the drag 
to produce swinging motion of a lever, which was expected 
to throw the rudder in a reverse direction, thus returning 
the ship to her original course. 

Another automatic steering device operated by the pres- 
sure of the water was expected to automatically control 
the depth of submergence, it being only necessary, theoreti- 
cally, to move a control lever to a point on a dial correspond- 
ing to the desired or predetermined depth of submergence, 
and the horizontal diving rudder would then be automatically 
manipulated to incline the bow of the boat down so as to dive 
until the desired depth was reached and then to be manipu- 
lated to throw the bow up or down to maintain that depth. 

In further describing his 1893 design for the Plunger, 
for which he received the award based on a guarantee of 
performance, Mr. Holland describes her as follows : 

" The boat now being built for the United States Govern- 
ment satisfies all the requirements detailed earlier in this 
article. It will have a length over all of eighty-five feet, 
and diameter of eleven and one-half feet ; total displacement, 
one hundred and sixty-eight tons, and a light displacement 
of one hundred and fifty-four tons. The guaranteed speed 
on the surface will be fifteen knots, the speed awash fourteen 





knots, and submerged eight knots. At full speed the boat 
will have an endurance of twelve hours and a radius of action 
of one thousand miles at slower speed. The endurance, 
when submerged, will be ten hours at a speed of six knots. 
The boat will be propelled by triple screws, operated by three 
independent sets of triple-expansion steam engines, capable 
of developing 1625 indicated horsepower. There will also 
be electric storage batteries and a motor of 70 horsepower 
for submerged running. The armament will consist of two 
- expulsion tubes and five Whitehead torpedoes. 

" Steering on the horizontal plane while submerged is 
accomplished by an automatic apparatus that performed very 
well in one of the boat's predecessors. Steering in the verti- 
cal plane is also done automatically, and with considerable 
exactness, while submerged. Steering in both planes can 
also, at the same time, be controlled manually. There will 
be a steel armored turret, four feet high, to protect the pilot 
and smokestack, and the hull will be covered by three feet 
of water while the vessel runs awash to attack. 

" When engaged in harbor defence duty its position will 
be outside the outer line of harbor defences ; that is, beyond 
the reach of the guns defending the entrance. While per- 
forming this duty it will lie awash ; that is, with only the 
top of its turret over the surface of the water. On the 
approach of an enemy's vessel the smokestack will be shipped 
and the aperture on top of the turret through which it passed 
will be quickly closed watertight. She will then run in a 
direction to intercept the enemy's ship, still remaining in the 
awash condition, until she comes near enough to be dis- 
covered by the lookouts on the ship, when she will go from 
the awash to the entirely submerged condition. The distance 



from the ship at which she will dive will depend upon the 
weather. In rough weather she can come quite close without 
being observed. Having come within a distance that the 
operator estimates at two or three hundred yards from the 
ship, the diving rudders are manipulated so as to cause the 
top of the turret to come for a few seconds above the surface 
of the water. During this short exposure of the turret — 
much too short to give the enemy a chance to find its distance 
and train a gun on it capable of inflicting any injury — the 
pilot ascertains the bearing of the enemy's ship, alters his 
course or makes another dive if necessary. If he finds that 
the submarine boat is within safe striking distance, say one 
hundred yards, a Whitehead torpedo is discharged at the 
ship. A heavy explosion within six seconds after the torpedo 
is expelled will notify the operator that his attack has been 
successful, and he may then devote his attention to the next 
enemy's ship that may be within reach. When the boat is 
running on the surface of the water, with full steam power, 
and it becomes necessary to dive quickly, the pilot gives the 
order, ' Prepare to dive.' The oil fuel is instantly shut 
off from the furnace, the valves are opened to admit water 
to the water-ballast tanks, an electric engine draws down 
the smokestack and air-shaft into the superstructure, and 
moves a large, massive sliding valve over the aperture on the 
turret through which, the smokestack passes. These opera- 
tions will be completed in about thirty seconds, when the 
boat is in the awash condition and prepared to dive. In 
twenty seconds more it will be running horizontally at a 
depth of twenty feet below the surface of the water and 
quite beyond reach of the enemy's projectiles." 

I submitted designs of a twin-screw vessel eighty feet 




fe >» d *S w be l a 


p«os3 ra £ > 5— e 
° b -? S.& 

"■a ♦* &°" 5 2 . 

« fl « ™ £*a*o v « u 

fcJ ,_ C3.S? fl m o a o Si 

an) ut7_2 t-" 9 

.■o S 


"Cfc HE-" 
o> I o . . 

1 j-> ,-rt ^ 


i ^*-a 

& » 8,c o ° s^ 3 » a-o 

"« *.S B'K 3 

o-g.sSS"** ° rt .a-a~ 

te^.a) fe0e+ ao a,d 

M^ (V-i FiS g a oj rt te 

CD V< 

■o o a)'Bi3'« S-"!5 , o „ 

a=j2-§ fc*> e.Sfg «! £ 
oU-5 a * c — « a a £ 


~£-Ss§ ft °ag§S 


S-53 S E 




long, ten feet beam, and one hundred fifteen tons displace- 
ment, with 400-horsepower steam engines for surface pro- 
pulsion and 70-horsepower motors for submerged work. 
This design introduced several new and striking features 
into the art of submarine navigation which have been the 
cause of considerable scientific discussion. The design 
called for a double hull vessel, the spaces between the inner 
and outer hulls forming water-ballast tanks ; the design also 
called for twin screws and four torpedo tubes, two firing 
forward and two aft, 

The novel feature which attracted the most attention and 
scepticism regarding this design was — so I was later in- 
formed by a member of the Board — in the claim made that 
the vessel could readily navigate over the water-bed itself 
and that while navigating on the water-bed a door could be 
opened in the bottom of a compartment and the water kept 
from entering the vessel by means of compressed air, and 
that the crew could, by donning diving suits, readily leave 
and enter the vessel while submerged. Another novel fea- 
ture was in the method of controlling the depth of sub- 
mergence when navigating between the surface and the 
water-bed. The vessel was designed always to submerge 
and navigate on a level keel rather than to be inclined down 
or up by the bow to dive or rise. This maintenance of a ~] 
level keel while submerged was provided for by the installa- 
tion of four depth-regulating vanes, which I later termed 
" hydroplanes " to distinguish them from the forward and 
aft levelling vanes or horizontal rudders. These hydroplanes 
were located at equal distances forward and aft of the 
centre of gravity and buoyancy of the vessel when in the 
submerged condition, so as not to disturb the trim of the 



vessel when the planes were inclined down or up to cause the 
vessel to submerge or rise when under way. I also used, 
in conjunction with the hydroplanes, horizontal rudders, 
which I called " levelling vanes," as their purpose was just 
the opposite from that of the horizontal rudder used in the 
diving type of vessel. They were operated by a pendulum- 
controlling device to be inclined so as always to maintain 
the vessel on a level keel rather than cause her to depart 
therefrom. When I came to try this combination out in 
practice I found hand control of the horizontal rudders 
was sufficient. If vessels with this system of control have 
a sufficient amount of stability, they will run for hours and 
automatically maintain both a constant depth and a level 
keel, without the depth-control man touching either the 
hydroplane or horizontal rudder control gear. This auto- 
matic maintenance of depth without manipulating the hydro- 
planes or rudders was a performance not anticipated or 
claimed in my original patent on the above-mentioned com- 
bination, and what caused these vessels to function in this 
manner remained a mystery, which was left unsolved until 
I built a model tank in 1905, in Berlin, Germany, and con- 
ducted a series of experiments on models of submarines. I 
then learned that the down pull of a hydroplane with a given 
degree of inclination varied according to its depth of sub- 
mergence, and the deeper the submergence the less down 
pull. This works out to give automatic maintenance of 
depth so long as the vessel is kept at a constant trim on 
a substantially level keel, and I have known of vessels 
running for a period of over two hours without variation 
of depth of one foot and without once changing the inclina- 
tion of either the hydroplanes or the horizontal rudder. 



The capability of this arrangement of hydroplanes and 
horizontal rudders to control the depth of submergence was 
questioned and doubted for many years. As late as 1902, 
nearly ten years after I first submitted this method of con- 
trol to the United States Navy Department, Naval Con- 
structor L. Y. Spear, U. S. N., testifying before the 
Committee of Naval Affairs, House of Representatives, in 
reference to the " Lake even-keel boat " and my use of 
hydroplanes, said, "As an expert I do not think he will 
make his hydroplanes work " ; and strongly contended 
that submergence by inclining the vessel itself was the 
proper method. 

Several years later, in 1908, in Paris, I met Captain 
Lauboeuf, the celebrated French naval constructor, who has 
perhaps done more toward perfecting the French submarines 
than any other designer, and he informed me that after the 
French Government had its sad experience in the loss of the 
Lutine and Farfadet with their crews, it had changed all 
their diving boats into even-keel boats and was now using 
substantially my method of even-keel submergence with 
hydroplane control. He also informed me that it had, at 
that time, thirty-five new boats under construction to operate 
on the even-keel principle, eighteen of which were of five 
hundred and fifty tons displacement. Captain Lauboeuf was 
kind enough to compliment me as having been the first to 
introduce this method of submerged control. 

Commander Murray F. Sueter, Royal British Navy, 
in his most complete work on " The Evolution of the Sub- 
marine Boat, Mine and Torpedo, from the Sixteenth Century 
to the Present Time," published in 1907, said : 

"After scrutinizing all the information available, I am 



certain that several features of the ' Lake ' design will be 
embodied by most nations in the construction of future boats, 
the chief of which, perhaps, are • the even-keel method of 
submergence ' in preference to the ' dynamical dive ' of the 
Holland boats ; also the provision of a safety keel and diving 
compartment. This latter forms a ready means of com- 
municating with the surface should the boat, through 
some small mishap, find herself on the bottom and 
unable to rise." 

Sir Trevor Dawson, formerly (R.N.) manager of 
" Vickers," in discussing submarine boats before the Insti- 
tution of Naval Architects in 1907, said: 

" Mr. Lake mentioned the question of the importance of 
horizontal stability and the use of hydroplanes. I think 
these have been used by the Holland Company in America 
in connection with the experiments they made for the 
American Government. In one of the boats I saw they 
gave me particulars of such experiments. I know, too, that 
they have been used considerably in France with satisfactory 
results, and I think his contention as to the importance of 
horizontal stability, as things exist to-day, is fully justified." 

Captain Edgar Lees (R. N.), who was the officer in 
charge of the British submarines, said: 

" I may say, with regard to the features that Mr. Lake 
has brought to our notice — the hydroplane, for instance, and 
getting good freeboard and seaworthy boats — the mere fact 
that they have been largely copied and that most nations 
build these submarine boats is, as Mr. Lake contends, a 
conclusive proof that he has been for years on the right 
tack. Well, I do not think at the present moment sub- 



marine boats are beitig built in any country without hydro- 
planes, in order to dive, if desired, almost horizontally." 

One of the latest contract requirements of the United 
States Government, specifying the characteristics of the 
new boats to be built under the appropriation for submarines 
for the year 1915, stated: 

" The vessel shall make also the necessary trials to 
demonstrate her ability to effect initial submergence, to 
maintain submergence under way, and to change depths 
without exceeding an angle of inclination of one degree." 
This, in substance, calls for " even-keel submergence " when 
one considers that it was common for early boats of the 
diving type to take on an inclination of fifteen to twenty 
degrees, and inclinations of as much as forty-five degrees 
were not unknown. 

All governments and submarine builders have at present 
in their latest boats adopted the method of even-keel sub- 
mergence by the use of hydroplanes, and I am gratified that 
this method of control has been finally adopted as the 
standard, as I believe none of the latest modern submarine 
boats will make the uncontrollable dives to the bottom com- 
mon in the boats of the diving type, which have been accom- 
panied in many cases by the loss of their crews. 

I did not make a proposal to build a boat from my 
designs as submitted in 1893, but offered to cooperate with 
the government in developing submarines under my patents, 
which were then pending, on such terms as the government 
might desire. Not being fortunate enough, however, to 
secure the financial assistance of the government in develop- 
ing my inventions for the protection of our country, I 
turned my attention for a time to applying my inventions to 



commercial purposes and to prove the practicability of 
navigating on the bottom. 

For this purpose I built, in 1894, the Argonaut, Jr., 
which I mentioned in the preceding chapter, and will now 
= describe more fully. This vessel was provided with three 
wheels, two on either side forward and one aft, the 
latter acting as a steering wheeL When on the bottom the 
wheels were rotated by hand by one or two men inside the 
boat. Her displacement was about seven tons, yet she could 
be propelled at a moderate walking gait when on the bottom. 
She was also fitted with an air-lock and diver's compart- 
ment, so arranged that by patting an air pressure on the 
diver's compartment equal to the water pressure outside 
a bottom door could be opened and no water could come into 
the vessel. Then by putting on a pair of rubber boots the 
operator could walk around on the sea bottom and push the 
boat along with him and pick up objects, such as dams, 
oysters, etc, from the sea bottom. 

Experiments with this vessel on the bottom of Sandy 
Hook Bay convinced a sufficient number of people who were 
permitted to witness the experiments that submarine navi- 
gation in this manner was practicable, and I succeeded in 
raising sufficient capital to build a larger vessel to continue 
my experiments on a broader scale. Therefore, in 1895, 1 
designed the Argonaut. 

At this time I was living in Baltimore, Md. f so I made 
a contract with the Columbian Iron Works and Dry Dock 
Company, of that dry. for her construction. This com- 
pany was also building for the Holland Torpedo Boat Com- 
pany the Plunger, which was being constructed for the 
government under the 1893 appropriation. Both vessels 


"argonaut" as originally built, launched in august, 1897 

Built to further demonstrate the possibility of navigation over the waterbed of seas or 
the ocean. She covered thousands of miles in ntr experimental work, testing out the prac- 
ticability of the submarine tor various kinds of commercial work. 


were completed about the same time. They were launched 
in August, 1897, and went into dry dock together. 

The Argonaut, as originally built, was thirty-six feet long 
and nine feet in diameter. She was the first submarine 
to be operated successfully with an internal-combustion 
engine. She was propelled with a thirty-horsepower gaso- 
lene (petrol) engine driving a single-screw propeller. She 
was fitted with two toothed driving wheels forward, which 
were revolved by suitable gearing when navigating on the 
water-bed. They could be disconnected from this gearing 
and permitted to revolve freely, propulsion being secured 
by the screw propeller. A wheel in the rudder enabled her 
to be steered in any direction when on the bottom. She 
also had a divers' compartment to enable divers to leave 
or enter the vessel when submerged, so as to operate on 
wrecks or to permit inspection of the bottom or to recover 
shellfish. She also had a lookout compartment in the ex- 
treme bow, with a powerful searchlight to light up a path- 
way in front of her as she moved along over the water-bed. 
This searchlight I later found of little value except for night 
work in clear water. In clear water the sunlight would 
permit of as good vision without the use of the light as 
with it; while, if the water was not clear, no amount 
of light would permit of vision through it for any 
considerable distance. 

As the Argonaut was principally built in order to further 
test out the possibility of navigating on the water-bed in 
exploration and commercial work, she was propelled, both 
when on the surface and submerged, by her gasolene (petrol) 
engines. Storage batteries were carried only for lighting 
purposes. The air to run her engines was first drawn into 
12 177 


the vessel through a hose extending to a buoy floating on the 
surface. Later she was fitted with pipe masts, which en- 
abled her to navigate on the bottom in depths up to fifty feet. 
She functioned satisfactorily from the start. We found 
we could readily navigate over any kind of bottom, soft 
or hard, by regulating her buoyancy to suit, and she would, 
due to her buoyancy, readily climb over any obstruction 
that did not reach higher than her forefoot. 

There were three things which caused us to delay her 
departure on a submarine exploration trip for a few weeks. 
The first was the escape of gasolene (petrol) fumes in the 
boat. When first built, fuel tanks were built in the hull 
itself and formed an integral part of the vessel. Special 
care was given to make these fuel tanks tight. They were 
tested under hydraulic pressure and found to be tight, but 
the fumes from gasolene (petrol) are very searching, and, 
after filling the fuel tanks and keeping them filled over night, 
gasolene fumes were found to exist in the boat the next 
morning to such an extent that I would not venture to make 
a start until a fuel tank had been built outside of the vessel, 
where any escape of fumes would not form an explosive 
mixture. I followed this practice in all our later gasolene- 
engined boats, which largely eliminated the danger from 
carrying gasolene as a fuel. A number of explosions have 
occurred in other types of gasolene-propelled boats, in some 
cases with fatal results, from gasolene fuel being carried in 
built-up tanks within the hull itself. 

The next cause of delay was due to the escape of and 
collection of carbon monoxide within the vessel. This 
developed on our first submarine run. After we had been 
down about two hours some of us commenced to experience 



a dull pain at the base of the brain and a decided feeling of 
lassitude. On coming to the surface a couple of our men 
collapsed completely, and one was very sick all night. I 
could not understand the cause of this, as nothing of the 
kind had occurred in my previous hand-propelled vessel, 
so we made another submerged run the following day, and 
after about the same period of time the pain in the head and 
weariness came on again. I then discovered that the engine 
would occasionally backfire out into the boat and that gas 
was escaping past the piston rings into the base of the engine 
and from there into the boat. To overcome this difficulty 
I installed what I called an induction tank, which was piped 
up to the air intake of the engine and also the engine base. 
A check valve admitted air into this induction tank. When 
the engine was started the check valve was automatically 
lifted and induced a flow of air through the tank, in which 
a slight vacuum was maintained, which also served to draw 
the gases out from the engine base. In case of a backfire, 
the check valve automatically closed and the gases from the 
backfire were caught in the induction tank, from which they 
were drawn out on the next stroke of the engine. This 
solved the difficulty, and thereafter the air was always fresh 
and pure when running submerged even after a submergence 
of several hours' duration. 

Like Mr. Holland, I also had difficulty on our first sub- 
mergence in always knowing where we were going. Our 
compass was first installed in the boat itself, where it was 
surrounded by steel. The compass adjuster had searched 
for and found what he considered the most neutral place 
in the ship to install the compass, and had adjusted it by 
magnets in the usual manner, but it was too " loggy " for 

1 80 


correct navigation and we were forced finally to install 
it in a bronze binnacle directly over the conning tower, 
where it could be viewed by mirrors from the steersman's 
station. This cut out most of the adjusting magnets, and 
the compass was nearly accurate on all courses. Submarine 
navigation -thus became reliable. 

On the completion of these changes the Argonaut was 
taken down the Chesapeake Bay to Hampton Roads, where 
several months were spent in examining the bottom con- 
ditions in the bay and out on the ocean, and in locating and 
picking up cables and in examining wrecks. The Spanish- 
American War was on at this time, and an effort was made 
to interest the government officials in charge of the mines 
at Fortress Monroe. I tried to get some of the officers to go 
down in the Argonaut and see how easily observation mine 
cables could be located and cut if desired, as I was making 
almost daily submerged runs in their vicinity. Finally I 
received peremptory orders not to submerge within a mile 
of the mine fields, as I might accidentally sever one of the 
cables, and then, as the officer in charge said, " There would 
be the devil to pay in Washington." 

It was about this time that Admiral Sampson's fleet was 
holding at great expense its long vigil outside of Santiago, 
waiting for Cervera's fleet to come out. Our fleet was kept 
outside the harbor for fear of the mines, while here in 
Hampton Roads all this time was a vessel capable of clearing 
away the mine fields, but which was not given serious con- 
sideration, as it was thought that the submarine was im- 
practicable. Experiments were also made showing the possi- 
bility of establishing submarine telephone stations at known 
locations on the bottom of the ocean. In January, 1898, 


while the Argonaut was submerged, telephonic conversation 
was held from submerged stations with Baltimore, Wash- 
ington, and New York. In 1898, also, the Argonaut made 
the trip from Norfolk to New York under her own power 
and unescorted. In her original form she was a cigar-shaped 
craft, with only a small percentage of reserve btioyancy in 
her surface cruising condition. We were caught out in the 
severe November northeast storm of 1898 in which over two 
hundred vessels were lost, and we did not succeed in reaching 
a harbor in the " horseshoe " back of Sandy Hook until 
three o'clock in the morning. The seas were so rough, and 
broke over her conning tower in such masses, that I was 
obliged to lash myself fast to prevent being swept overboard. 
It was freezing weather, and I was soaked and covered with 
ice on reaching harbor. 

This experience caused me to apply to the Argonaut 
a further improvement, for which I had already applied for 
a patent. This was to build around the usual pressure- 
resisting body of a submarine a ship-shape form of light 
plating which would give greater seaworthiness, better lines 
for surface speed, and make the vessel more habitable for 
surface navigation. It would, in other words, make a " sea- 
going submarine," which the usual form of cigar-shaped 
vessel was not, as it did not have sufficient surface buoyancy 
to enable it to rise with the seas, and the seas would sweep 
over it as they would sweep over a partly submerged rock. 

The Argonaut was therefore taken to Brooklyn, twenty 
feet added to her length, and a light, watertight, buoyant 
superstructure of ship-shape form added. This superstruc- 
ture was opened to the sea when it was desired to submerge 
the vessel, and water was permitted to enter the space be- 



tween the light plating of the ship-shape form and the heavy 
plating of the pressure-resisting hull. This equalized the 
pressure on the light plates and prevented their becoming 
deformed, due to pressure. The superstructure increased her 
reserve of buoyancy in the surface cruising condition from 
about ten per cent, to over forty per cent., and she would 
rise to the seas like any ordinary type of surface vessel, 
instead of being buried by them in rough weather. 

This feature of construction has been adopted by the 
Germans, Italians, Russians, and in all the latest types of 
French boats. It is the principal feature which distinguishes 
them in their surface appearance from the earlier cigar- 
shaped boats of the diving type. This ship-shape form of 
hull is only suited to level-keel submergence, and must be 
controlled by hydroplanes. 

I also departed from the cigar-shaped inner hull and 
was granted a patent on a form of pressure-resisting hull 
with rising axes. This improvement overcame the tendency 
to dive by the head common to the cigar-shaped form, in- 
creased the surface speed on an equivalent displacement, 
and gave a considerable increase in metacentric height over 
a vessel of equivalent length and beam. 

Some incorrectly informed writers of books and maga- 
zines have, through their lack of complete information, given 
the credit of inventing and developing this seagoing type of 
submersible to the Krupps of Germany, to former Naval 
Constructor Lauboeuf, of France, or to former Naval Con- 
structor Laurenti, of Italy. For the purpose of giving a 
correct history of this development, perhaps I may be par- 
doned and not considered overconceited if I mention a few 



facts in connection with the development of this type of boat 
in European countries. 

On April 2, 1897, I applied for a patent on a combined 
surface and submarine vessel, the specifications of which 
began as follows : 

" This invention relates to a combined surface and sub- 
marine vessel and may be employed either as a torpedo 
boat or for freight and general cruising purposes, or for 
submarine work of all kinds. It has for its object, first, to 
combine with a submarine vessel cylindrical in cross-section 
a superstructure built upon the submarine vessel and afford- 
ing a large deck surface, buoyancy, and a high freeboard 
for surface navigation, the space between the submarine 
vessel and the superstructure adapted to being filled with 
water when the vessel is submerged, and thus rendered capa- 
ble of resisting the pressure of the water, etc." A patent was 
granted in due course with fifty claims, and, according to the 
records of patent offices throughout the "world, this is the 
pioneer patent covering this form of vessel. 

When Krupps took up the matter of constructing sub- 
marines for the Russian and German governments, they 
decided upon this type of vessel, as they held that it offered 
a greater opportunity for development than the diving type. 
A contract was drawn with their directors for the construc- 
tion of the " Lake " type of boat, which they accepted by 
wire. This contract covered the erection of a plant in Russia 
for the manufacture of " Lake " submarines on a division 
of profits and also the construction of ships in Germany 
on a royalty basis. It also covered my employment by 
them in an advisory capacity. I was living abroad at the 



time, and the papers were sent to my directors in America 
for their approval. 

In the meantime I had submitted to them various plans 
of submarines, copies of my patents, and even my secret 
data, including copies of patents pending, all to enable them 
to go ahead, as I considered the agreement settled by their 
wire of acceptance. I had also advised them how to over- 
come certain difficulties in boats which they then had under 
construction for the Russian Government at their Kiel plant, 
the Germania Werft. 

Before I succeeded in getting the power of attorney 
from my directors in America authorizing me to sign up the 
agreement, the great industrial revolution started in Russia, 
immediately after the Russo-Japanese war, and the Krupps 
informed me that, owing to that fact, they had reconsidered 
their idea of going into Russia and withdrew from the 
arrangement. Their attorney in Berlin informed me that 
on looking up the patent situation they had found that " I 
had not protected myself in Germany and that they were free 
to build ' Lake ' type boats in Germany and expected to con- 
tinue to do so." This was true, for, like most pioneer in- 
ventors, I had not succeeded in securing sufficient capital 
to finance and protect my fundamental inventions in all 
countries, which would have involved very large amounts in 
taking them out and paying the yearly tax. 

So much for Germany. 

In 1905, while residing in Berlin, Germany, I was called 
to Rome and sat three days with a commission appointed by 
Admiral Mirabello, at that time Italian Minister of Marine, 
regarding their construction of submarines. I then learned 
that the Italian Government had started on a plan of building 



submarines of substantially my type, that they had several 
under construction at their Venice Arsenal after the design 
of Major Laurenti, a naval constructor; that certain diffi- 
culties which they explained to me had arisen, and that they 
had not succeeded in getting any of their boats to function 
satisfactorily submerged. I came to the conclusion that their 
trouble was due to lack of longitudinal stability, and advised 
the Commission how to increase this. Shortly afterward I 
was advised that they had corrected their trouble and that 
the boats then worked satisfactorily. 

Major Laurenti, at this time, resigned from the Italian 
Navy and became affiliated with the Fiat Company, and has 
designed quite a large number of successful submarine boats, 
all of which have buoyant superstructures and are designed 
to operate on a level keel by the use of hydroplanes. These 
boats are of the " Lake " type, so far as invention goes. 

There is a difference, however, between invention and 
design. Invention introduces a new method, a new principle, 
or a new form of construction, to accomplish a certain pur- 
pose in a new way. Many modifications of design may be 
made which do not involve invention. 

As an illustration, on August 14, 1907, Major Laurenti 
applied for a United States patent on a submarine or sub- 
mersible boat in which the attempt was made to secure a 
patent on slight variations of design over the " Lake " type. 
The patent office records show that many amendments were 
made and hearings held in the endeavor to evade the foun- 
dation patent of Lake, No. 650,758, which was applied for 
April 2, 1897, over ten years before Laurenti applied for 
a patent. The patent office consistently and persistently held 
that the slight difference in design did not involve invention 



over " Lake." After arguments and hearings, extending 
over a period of over three years, Major Laurenti was finally 
obliged to accept a patent restricted to details of construction, 
most of which were in themselves not new to me, as they 
had already been used in various modifications of my inven- 
tions and consisted in such changes as would naturally be 
worked out by any good hull or engine draftsmen while 
developing the designs of a vessel. 

Our patent laws are too free in allowing the granting 
of patents on modifications of design while fundamental 
patents are still in force. This works great hardship on 
original inventors, forcing them to take out a great many 
patents on features of design rather than on invention. I 
have taken out nearly one hundred United States patents 
with over one thousand one hundred claims covering a few 
fundamental inventions, some of which cover details of 
construction for which I should not have been forced 
to seek protection. 

All original inventors complain of this system. I know 
of several instances where patents on modifications of design 
have been granted, which modifications have been in common 
use for several years by others, but were only considered 
as a design and not as an invention. Then some designer 
hits on the same arrangement and considers he has made 
an invention, and applies for and takes out a patent which 
has already been in common use but has been looked upon 
purely as a design by its originator rather than an invention. 
Then the original designer may be hauled up before the 
courts and put to great expense to prove that it was in prior 
use as a design. 



While Captain Lauboeuf and the Krupps have taken out 
several patents on detail mechanisms for use on submarine 
boats, they have never — so far as I am aware or the patent 
records show — attempted to claim to be the original inven- 
tors of the type of submarine with buoyant ship-shaped form 
of hull consisting of a pressure-resisting body surmounted 
by a watertight, non-pressure- resisting body which gives suit- 
able form for surface speed and seaworthiness, which is the 
principal characteristic of vessels built by them. I feel, 
therefore, that certain misinformed authors should, in the 
interests of the truth, correct their statements if they issue 
new editions of their work or write further on the develop- 
ment of the submarine. 

During the years of practical experimental work with 
the Argonaut, Mr. Holland continued in his efforts to get the 
Plunger — building under the 1893 appropriation — in shape 
for submerged trials, but without success. 

The large steam installation, sixteen hundred horsepower, 
was largely responsible for this. As I remember, there was 
only about eighteen inches between the main engines, with 
large steam supply and exhaust pipes overhead and under 
foot. These engines were designed to run at over four 
hundred revolutions per minute. The boiler was located 
nearly in the centre of the vessel and so nearly filled the 
ship that there was barely room between the top of the 
boiler and ship to creep from " forward to aft." 

The heat was so intense that the trial crew found it 
impossible to live in the boat, so for their full power dock 
trials valve stems were run up through the deck to enable 
the engines to be started from there. Arrangements were 
made also to take the indicator cards from the deck. She 



was also fitted with a heavy armored conning tower, as per 
Mr. Holland's description previously quoted. This, com- 
bined with the high position of the boiler and engines, to- 
gether with her cigar-shaped form, which gives a diminishing 
water plane, reduced her stability almost to zero. I was 
informed that when the attempt was first made to start up 
one of her engines her stability was so little that the turning 
effort on her propeller shaft nearly caused her to " turn 
turtle," and that she rolled over on her side to such an extent 
that the conning tower struck the dock stringer. The con- 
structor at the Columbian Iron Works then put heavy chains 
on her so that she could not turn over. Every inducement 
was made to the Holland Company to enable it to make this 
vessel satisfactory, as Congress, in 1896, authorized the 
Secretary of the Navy to contract for two more " submarine 
torpedo boats of the Holland type, provided that the Holland 
boat now being built for the Department shall be accepted 
by the Department as fulfilling all the requirements of the 
Contract." She was finally abandoned in 1900 without ever 
making a submerged run or fulfilling any of her guarantees 
of performance under which the award was secured. Mr. 
Holland as early as 1897 must have concluded that the 
Plunger was destined to failure. In fact, no submarine, 
even up to the present day, has ever equalled the perform- 
ance guaranteed under the Plunger's contract. He there- 
fore built a much smaller boat, called the Holland. This 
vessel was fitted with internal-combustion engines instead of 
steam, and was finally accepted by the United States Gov- 
ernment in lieu of the Plunger, and placed in commission in 
1900. She was the first submarine torpedo boat to go into 
commission in the United States Navy. Her characteristics 


u o P. 



£ 2 'S- 
. 2§ 

a'" s 

tM u ca: 
c u • 



%z, 0.0 

Hi K 2 

Is Is 

O J O a 


§ §§! 

c 2*.8 
n c a a 


.2t:g ' 

S a §B 

.S .ft! 

b'Srs o 

f> o o 

§.23 » 

• |°0 

3 SB'S 
"sa . 

tor -a oi 

•a a a ^ 
P*T o-C 
*s o S * 


(A Q+J^-' 

H o o*« 

o u S 


Courtesy of the Engineering Magazine 




were: Length, fifty-three feet four inches; beam, ten feet 
three inches ; displacement, sixty- four tons surface, seventy- 
five tons submerged; power, internal-combustion engines, 
fifty horsepower ; surface speed, six to seven knots claimed ; 
submerged speed, five knots claimed. The only official re- 
port I have seen gave her a surface speed of five and two- 
thirds knots. I believe she was purchased by the authority 
of the Act of June 7, 1900, which read as follows : " The 
Secretary of the Navy is hereby authorized and directed to 
contract for five submarine torpedo boats of the ' Holland ' 
type of the most improved design, at a price not to exceed 
one hundred and seventy thousand dollars (£35,000) each: 
Provided, That such boats shall be similar in dimensions to 
the proposed new ' Holland,' plans and specifications of 
which were submitted to the Navy Department by the Hol- 
land Torpedo Boat Company, November twenty-third, 
eighteen hundred and ninety-nine." 

The United States was, therefore, at the beginning of U 
the twentieth century, fairly launched on a policy of sub- 
marine boat construction, and other governments rapidly 
followed suit. France had, in the meantime, brought out two 
new boats, the Morse, 1898, and the Narval, after the designs 
of M. Lauboeuf, launched October 26, 1899. The Gustave 
Zede had also been modified by adding hydroplanes so that 
she became controllable submerged. 

The Morse was one hundred and eighteen feet long by 
eight feet three inches beam, with a displacement of one 
hundred and thirty-six tons, of about the same type as the 
Gustave Zede. The Narval was one hundred and eleven 
feet six inches in length by twelve feet four inches beam; 
one hundred and six tons surface displacement and aa~ 



hundred and sixty-eight tons submerged. She was, like 
the author's 1893 design, a double hull vessel controlled by 
hydroplanes. She was fitted with " Dzrewiecke " apparatus 
for carrying and discharging torpedoes, two of which were 
carried on either side. The Narval was a successful type and 
appears to have been the first French naval vessel to adopt a 
ship-shape outer. hull of lighter plating. She was also, so far 
as my records show, the first French boat to be fitted with 
two motive powers— viz., steam for surface work and elec- 
tricity for submerged work. To distinguish her in these 
particulars from the purely electric boats of cigar-shaped 
form, like the Gustave Zede and Morse, Mr. Lauboeuf 
called her a submersible. 

Very little was known about the French boats at this 
time (1900), as their method of construction and experi- 
ments were kept secret, but enough information leaked out 
as to their reported success to cause the British public much 
uneasiness, and they began to demand that their Admiralty 
should also take up the development of the submarine. No 
one had, so far, evolved a satisfactory type in England, so 
when the fact became known that the United States Congress 
had made an appropriation for five Holland boats, the 
British public became still more insistent that they should also 
have submarines. 

About this time, so I was informed by Sir William 
White, who was then chief constructor of the British Navy, 
Lord Rothschild brought to him Mr. Isaac L. Rice, president 
of the Electric Boat Company, who controlled the Holland 
patents and who offered to build duplicates of the United 
States boats for England. Sir William thought this gave 
the Admiralty the opportunity to satisfy the public demands 



and to meet the French, their hereditary enemy — this was 
before the establishment of the "Entente Cordiale" — in 
their development of the submarine. Consequently an 
arrangement was made for the manufacture of this type of 
vessel for England by the Vickers Company. An agreement 
was drawn, so Sir William informed me, giving " Vickers " 
an exclusive monopoly of building submarines for the 
British Navy for a period of ten years, the consideration 
being that they should have available for the use of the 
British Admiralty all the details of the development work 
of the Electric Boat Company in America. This, plus their 
own experience and development work in England, which 
should be kept secret, should enable England to keep on an 
equal footing with France. 

Sir William informed me that he thought this had been 
a mistake in policy, as it had deprived the government of 
the opportunity to secure improvements that had been de- 
veloped by other inventors and builders who had made 
greater progress on independent lines. 

England, therefore, started to build her first submarine, 
known as the " A " type. These were practically duplicates 
of the United States Adder and Moccasin type, now also 
designated as " A's " Nos. i to 7. England has been par- 
ticularly unfortunate with this class of submarine, several' 
of them having plunged to the bottom with the loss of their 
crews during peace-time manoeuvres. 

The majority of the British and American boats are 
developments from the original Holland of Mr. Holland's 
design. Increasing the stability, greater subdivision of bal- 
last compartments, refinements in steering gear, and the addi- 
tion of hydroplanes forward have enabled Mr. Holland and 
13 *93 

Modem French Submerme c-f Lwbeuf D«.p.. Cnwirucied by Schneider -nd Conwy 

Modem Italian Submarine— Fin Connruciion— Uurenu Detign. Veiiel.of the Double Hull Buoyant" •Supenlnicture,. 
Hydroplane Controlled Type 

German "IT" Boat — Krupp Design 

27 and 28, vertical rudders; 29 and 30, hydroplanes for controlling depth of submergence; 
9, periscopes; 21, engines; 20, motors; 22, storage batteries; 4, drop keel; 31, torpedo tubes. 



his successors to produce submarines that operate very well. 
These boats, however, with only one pair of forward planesf^ 
still require constant manipulation of the horizontal rudder ' 
to control them when submerged. This rudder, controlled 
by power gear, is very effective and will, by expert manipula- 
tion, hold the submarine to practically even depth. The only 
danger the writer can see is that the diving rudder gear might 
fail to function after it is set in the diving position, in which 
case the vessel might continue diving until she struck bottom , 

or reached a depth great enough to cause her to collapse. 

The modern submarines, therefore, as built and used in I 
all the world's navies, owe their final success to principles of 
construction and control devices invented and introduced into 
the art by two American inventors. 



The submarine boat is the guerilla in warfare. Its tactics 
are the tactics of the Indian who fights under cover or lies 
in ambush for his enemy. These are necessarily the tactics 
of all weaker individuals and are an essential method of 
procedure in preventing the weaker party from being annihi- 
lated by the strong and more powerful. Some people have 
contended that the submarine is an unfair weapon, but the 
old statement that " all's fair in love and war " applies to 
the submarine as it does to every weapon which has been 
invented since the days when men struggled for supremacy 
with their bare hands. The first man who wielded the club 
might have been accused of being unfair; the same term 
might have been applied to the man who invented the sling- 
shot or the bow and arrow. When people fight for their 
existence, the existence of their families or of their country, 
they do not fight according to the " Marquis of Queensberry 
Rules." A revolver in the hands of a weak man or a defence- 
less woman is a proper weapon to enable them to protect 
their property, their honor, or their life ; and, no matter what 
theorists may claim, the submarine will remain as a weapon 
to be reckoned with in all future wars, provided there are 
future wars upon the high seas. In making this assertion 
I do not intend to justify a great many of the acts performed 
by the submarines of one of the belligerents in the present 
war. I do claim, however, that the submarine is a perfectly 
legitimate naval weapon, and that it deserves a place in the 



armament of any nation whose military power is maintained 
for purposes of self-defence. 

Above all, I believe the submarine most fitted to act 
as a weapon in coast-defence operations. Coast-defence sub- 
marines will probably be found to be the most important 
adjunct to the navies of every country whose policy is to 
defend their own coast lines, rather than to attempt aggres- 
sive warfare. Vessels for this purpose do not need to be 
of great tonnage nor of high speed. Speed is the one thing, 
more than anything else, which runs up the cost of the 
submarine vessel. While speed is desirable for the cruising 
submarine, it is not an essential for a defensive submarine. 
It is possible to get a speed of fourteen or fifteen knots in a 
submarine of about five hundred tons displacement, and 
at the same time have comfortable living quarters for the 
crew. A boat of this size may carry eight Whitehead 
torpedoes, each torpedo being capable of destroying a fifteen- 
million-dollar battleship, and as a five-hundred-ton displace- 
ment submarine can be built for about one-half million 
dollars, and is capable of carrying eight Whitehead torpedoes, 
potentially good for eight fifteen-million-dollar battleships, 
or a total of one hundred and twenty million dollars' worth 
of capital ships, it seems as if that would be sufficient to 
ask of one little submarine boat. Now to double that speed 
would require a much larger vessel, and would cost approxi- 
mately two and one-half million dollars. A two and one- 
half -million-dollar boat for the defence of harbor entrances 
or seacoast cities would not carry as many torpedoes as five 
of the five-hundred-ton boats. A torpedo fired from a small 
boat is fully as potent as one fired from a two and one-half- 
million-dollar boat. 



These small boats could be located at five different points 
covering a portion of our coast, and the chances are that at 
least two of these smaller boats could reach an objective 
point on the coast line under their protection in shorter time 
than one large high-speed boat would be able to do. At 
the same cost they could cover the same area of coast line 
to a much better advantage, as there would be five of them 
to protect that area instead of one. 

We will assume, for purposes of illustration, that the 
Sandy Hook entrance to New York Harbor is to be defended. 
If we strike a fifteen-mile radius from Sandy Hook point, 
running from the Long Island to the New Jersey shore, and 
have four submarines take station on that radius line about 
five miles apart, no ship could pass that radius line without 
coming within the range of vision of the commander of the 
submarine, either from his periscope in daylight or at night 
within the range of hearing of his " submarine ears." The 
Fessenden oscillators, or microphones, now installed in all 
submarines, would readily detect the approach of a surface 
ship or ships. These instruments have been improved to such 
an extent that it is now possible to carry on wireless con- 
versation under water between one submarine and another 
for a considerable distance. Communication by the Morse 
code, or other special codes, may be carried on between 
submarines up to a distance of several miles. 

It would be possible for groups of submarines on station, 
or picket duty, so to speak, to be in constant communication 
with shore stations, either by submerged telephone stations 
or by wireless. In that way the submarines can be kept in 
constant touch with the country's scouting fleet of high-speed 
surface vessels or aeroplanes and immediately be notified 



of the approach of an enemy's fleet or ship. There is no 
way in which they can themselves he detected, so far as I 
am aware, as there is no need to run the machinery of the 
submarine while lying at rest on picket duty, and it would 
be impossible for a surface ship or flying machine to detect 
them, providing a constant watch was kept on the horizon 
or the heavens through the aeroscopes. 

As the effective range of the modern Whitehead torpedo 
is about three miles, no ship could pass between the sub- 
marines without passing within torpedo range. However, 
a commander of a submarine would hardly take a chance 
of making a hit at such great distance, and on sighting the 
enemy he would leave his station and attempt to intercept 
her, so as to get a shot at shorter range. If the enemy suc- 
ceeded in running the gauntlet of the outer circle it would 
have to pass the submarines distributed on, say, a ten-mile 
radius. Three submarines would be able to protect this 
radius line. A five-mile radius might also be established 
with two submarines, and one located at the entrance. To 
enter Sandy Hook, therefore, a ship would have to run the 
gauntlet of five or six submarines without it being necessary 
for them to leave their stations. 

Submarines with high speed will become valuable as 
commerce destroyers and for carrying on an offensive war- 
fare. Page 32 shows a high speed, sea-keeping, fleet sub- 
marine of the " Lake " type. Its principal characteristics are 
the same as those of the coast-defence type, except that 
the buoyant superstructure is increased in height suffi- 
ciently to form living quarters for the crew when cruising 
in surface condition. 



One of the essentials of a high-speed sea-going vessel is 
high-powered machinery. A large portion of the interior of 
the pressure-resisting hull, therefore, must be devoted to 
machinery space. The quarters would necessarily be some- 
what cramped without a buoyant superstructure, which 
gives plenty of room for the crew to take exercise and secure 
plenty of fresh air when off duty, even in rough water. As 
it is very important to keep the physical and mental con- 
dition of the crew in a satisfactory state, it is essential 
that the men be not kept in restricted quarters for a long 
period of time. 

This vessel is designed to carry torpedoes firing in line 
with the axes of the ship both fore and aft, and carries, also, 
torpedo tubes in the superstructure which may be trained to 
fire to either broadside. Of course, such a vessel as this 
should be fitted with wireless and sound-transmitting and 
detecting devices, and, to be effective, should have a speed 
of at least twenty-five knots, in which case she would be 
able to pursue and overtake any battle fleet that could be 
assembled from existing ships in any navy in the world. 
Undoubtedly such high-speed submarines will come into 
being within the next few years. 

Congress, in 1914, appropriated money to build " fleet 
submarines," in which they expressed the desire to secure 
twenty-five knots. A certain amount of discretion, how- 
ever, was left with the Navy Department, which would per- 
mit them to accept boats of not less than twenty knots. 
There is no difficulty in the way of making such vessels 
function satisfactorily when submerged, but up to date no 
internal-combustion engine has been produced suitable for 
such high-speed submarines, and steam has many disadvan- 


tages in a military submarine, which should be able to 
emerge and get under way at full speed after a long 
period of submergence. 

The tactics of the fleet submarine would be to search 
for and destroy the enemy's warships or commerce carriers 
wherever they could be found. A seagoing submarine of such 
character would also carry rapid-fire guns of sufficient calibre 
to destroy surface merchantmen. Having sufficient speed to 
overhaul them, they would be able to capture the merchant- 
men and perhaps take them as prizes into their own ports, 
something which it is impossible for the commander of the 
small-sized submarines now in commission to do, as they have 
neither the speed to overhaul swift merchantmen nor guns 
of sufficient range and power to destroy them if they refuse 
to follow the instructions of the submarine commander. 
The only alternative, therefore, has been to destroy the 
merchantmen, and, in many cases, the crews and passengers 
of the merchant ships have been destroyed as well. This 
latter policy, however, is much to be regretted. 

From a study of the submarine problem as it stands 
to-day, the one thing lacking to make the submarine suffi- 
ciently powerful to stop commerce on the high seas between 
countries at war is speed. We have seen from the foregoing 
that sufficient speed to accomplish this purpose means great 
additional cost, and, as the engine situation exists to-day, 
it may be considered that it is impossible. My own personal 
opinion is that we shall not see satisfactory twenty-knot 
submarines, let alone twenty-five-knot submarines, for a 
matter of several years. In the meantime the people of 
this country, now engaged in the gigantic conflict which is 
taking place across the water, are becoming much exercised 


as to the possibility of some condition arising which may 
bring about an attack upon our own country. 

There is a method of preparing this country with a type 
of submarine which may be navigated, so to speak, at much 
greater speed than that called for by the 1914 Congress; 
namely, twenty-five knots. The boats would have the further 
advantage in that they would be much less expensive even 
than the fourteen-knot submarines now called for in the 
latest specifications for the coast-defence type. This new 
method calls for the construction of a moderate-size sub- 
marine, which, for the want of a better term to distinguish 
it, I have called an " amphibious submarine " ; that is, a 
submarine which may be carried on land as well as on or 
under the water. 

These submarines would be much smaller than the present 
coast-defence type of submarine, and of a diameter that could 
pass through our tunnels and over our bridges. They could 
be of about two hundred and fifty tons submerged displace- 
ment. A railroad truck would be provided for each sub- 
marine, with a sufficient number of wheels to carry the load. 
The submarine itself would be constructed with proper scant- 
lings to carry her entire load of machinery, batteries, fuel, 
and supplies without injury when mounted on her special 
trucks. Vessels of this type, which would have a surface 
speed of ten to twelve knots and a submerged speed of ten 
knots, would be readily constructed. They could carry as 
many as eight Whitehead torpedoes and have a radius of 
action on the surface of about two thousand miles at eight 
knots. Fitted with telescopic, or housing, conning towers 
and periscopes, nothing would need to be taken apart to ship 
these submarines from one section of the country to another 


at railroad speed. Fifty submarines of this type would 
probably be more efficient in time of need for protecting our 
thousands of miles of -coast line than would many times the 
same number of fourteen-knot boats distributed over the 
same number of miles of coast line. 

In the war game no one can tell where the enemy may 
decide to strike in force. An attack might be made in the 
vicinity of Boston, New York, Charleston, Pensacola, New 
Orleans, or Galveston on the eastern coast ; it might be made 
at or in the vicinity of San Diego, Los Angeles, San Fran- 
cisco, or Seattle on the western coast. There should be, of 
course, a certain number of the coast-defence type of sub- 
marines permanently stationed at these ports for their pro- 
tection during war-time periods. But wars come suddenly, 
and the old saying that " the one who gets in the first blow 
has the advantage '' is a true one. The history of recent 
wars shows that the declaration of war usually comes after 
the first blow has been struck. It is readily conceivable, 
therefore, that before we knew that we were going to become 
involved in war a fleet of battleships and transports stationed 
off our harbors, or off a suitable landing place on our exten- 
sive coast line, might be able to establish a shore base before 
we knew it or had time to get sufficient of our slow-going 
submarines at the danger point to prevent the landing of an 
invading force. 

If we had one hundred submarines distributed over our 
Atlantic and Pacific coast lines, it would take weeks or 
months to mobilize many of them at the point of attack, 
for the reason that a submarine, when submerged, has such 
a small radius of action. The best in the service to-day 
have a radius of action of about one hundred miles at five 



knots, or eleven miles at ten and one-half knots, or twenty- 
four miles at eight knots. The enemy, with light, shallow- 
draft, high-speed picket boats, could probably make it very 
unsafe for a submarine to travel any considerable distance 
along the coast in the daytime, or even at night, in surface 
cruising condition. As it takes considerable time to charge 
the batteries to enable the boat to run in a submerged 
condition, should the enemy have control of the sur- 
face of the sea, the average submerged radius to-day of a 
submarine would probably be less than one hundred miles, 


unless it ran a grave risk of being captured while on the sur- 
face. The chances are, therefore, that if we had one hundred 
submarines distributed over our Atlantic and Pacific coast 
lines, not over ten or a dozen of them would be able to reach 
the point of attack in time to prevent the landing of an invad- 
ing force with sufficient men, guns, and ammunition to do a 
great deal of harm in some of the thickly populated sections 
of the country. 

If, however, the country were provided with fifty "am- 
phibious submarines " located at ten of our important 



Atlantic and Pacific ports, they could all be mobilized at an 
objective point within a week. If the government made 
arrangements with the railroads to run a track down under 
the water at each railroad coast terminal, or to run special 
tracks into the water at other suitable localities along the 
coast where there would be sufficient water to float a sub- 
marine, submarines could be rapidly mobilized to ward off 
a landing at any point. 

To illustrate the point which I wish to make, assume that 
this country should become involved in war with nations 
lying both to the east and west of us. To get submarines 
from one coast to the other would require a long period of 
time. The " amphibious submarine," on the contrary, could 
in an hour's notice be run on to the tracks at New York and 
three days later be run into the water at San Francisco, with 
her crew, fuel, stores, and torpedoes all ready to go into 
action at once. A submarine could make a trip from Boston 
to New York in five hours, or from Boston to New Orleans 
in thirty-five hours. These boats could be built in quantities 
at a cost of about $300,000 (£61,500) each. Fifty of them 
could, therefore, be built at approximately the cost of one 
modern battleship. 

There has been much talk recently about the so-called 
" baby " submarines — little one- or two-man boats. A large 
number of one-man submarines were built for the Russian 
Government previous to 1880 by Mons. Dzrewieckie, the 
well-known inventor of the Dzrewieckie type of torpedo 
launching apparatus. Mr. Holland, Goubet, and practically 
all inventors and builders of submarines commenced with 
" baby " submarines. One of the designs which I submitted 
to the United States Government in 1901 called for a one- 



man boat to be carried on the davits of a battleship or 
cruiser. A boat of that kind might have had a place a num- 
ber of years ago when attacking vessels came near the shore. 
Such small craft must necessarily have a very limited range 
of action and very slow speed ; they also would be unsea- 
worthy. It would be impossible for a man to remain 
submerged in a vessel of this type for a considerable 
length of time, so that personally I can see very little use 
for them at present. 

It has been well established that submarine boats should 
be divided into two classes : one a torpedo boat with as high 
surface and submerged speed as it is possible to attain with 
a large radius of action, capable, if possible, of exceeding 
battleship speed when on the surface, so that it may intercept 
a battle fleet on the high seas and submerge in its path of 
approach before being discovered; the second class should 
consist of smaller, slower-speed, mine-evading submarines, 
with torpedo and mining and countermining features. Such 
submarines are essentially defensive, but if they have suffi- 
cient radius of action to reach the enemy's harbors and to lie 
in wait off the entrance to such harbors, or to enter sub- 
merged the harbors themselves and there destroy the enemy 
craft, they have become potent offensive weapons of the 
raiding class. For a European power it is relatively easy 
to give such boats the radius necessary for them to invade 
an enemy's ports. 

We have not pushed the consideration of the submarine 
of the second class, with its anti-mine features, because we 
have been kept busy trying profitably to meet the wishes 
of the various governments which demand constantly increas- 
ing speeds at a sacrifice of some characteristics which I 



personally regard very highly. Most government officials 
have been more attracted to vessels of the first class, as speed 
in all classes of vessels more than anything else seems to 
appeal to the imagination, but I think it may be the old story 
of the tortoise and the hare over again. 

As regards the first class of submarines, the present 
submarine boats engaged in the continental war consist of 
vessels only a few of which have a surface speed exceeding 
twelve knots, or a submerged speed exceeding ten knots 
for one hour or eight knots for three hours. There may 
be a few in commission that exceed these speeds, but very 
few. Some are in course of construction that are expected 
to give a surface speed of seventeen and eighteen knots for 
forty hours and about eleven knots submerged for one hour, 
or a slower speed for a greater number of hours. 

Governments are asking for bids for submarines of 
greater speed, and some have been designed which are ex- 
pected to make twenty knots on the surface ; but they are 
not in service as yet. One reason that higher surface speeds 
have not been reached is the difficulty of securing a per- 
fectly satisfactory high-power, heavy-oil, internal-combus- 
tion engine, suitable for submarine boat work. As soon as 
a proven satisfactory heavy-oil engine is turned out by the 
engine builders, capable of delivering five thousand horse- 
power per shaft, submarine boats may be built capable of 
making up to twenty-five knots on the surface. 

The submarine, even at its present development, has 
shown its superiority over the battleship in coast operations ; 
to intercept a battleship at sea, however, even a high-speed 
submarine must lie in wait, perhaps for days or even weeks 
at a time, much like a gunner in a " blind " waiting for a 



flock of ducks to pass within gunshot. Because of its rela- 
tively slow speed it would have to wait for a long time, also, 
for a battleship or fleet to pass sufficiently near to be headed 
off, especially if the submarine were entirely submerged, 
because the moment the periscope appears above water the 
quarry will take to its heels, if it follows the latest ruling 
of the British Admiralty, to " steer away from the vicinity 
of submarines at full speed, even if it is necessary to abandon 
a torpedoed sister ship and its drowning crew to their 
own fate." 

I believe that this apparently heartless order is justified 
by the loss of the Aboukir, Cressy, and Hogue, the only 
flock of ducks, figuratively speaking, that has come within 
the shot of the submarine torpedo gunner. 

The conclusion must be reached, therefore, that on the 
high seas the only advantage the costly dreadnought has 
over the pigmy, cheap submarine, as at present constructed, 
lies in its ability to run away and to rule commerce far 
offshore on the high seas. 

So little is known of the possibilities of submarine vessels 
of the second type that it seems necessary for me to devpte 
some time to describing their possibilities and my experience 
in their construction. In 1905, while living in Berlin, Ger- 
many, I prepared plans for a mine-laying submarine for 
submission to the Russian Government, a general descrip- 
tion of which was published in 1906. This submarine was 
designed to carry thirty-six of the regulation naval mines, 
which could readily be placed in a desired locality while the 
submarine was entirely submerged. A vessel of this type 
might be useful for either offensive or defensive purposes. 
Where used for offensive purposes the mine-laying subma- 



rine could readily, with comparatively little danger to her- 
self, plant mines off entrances to the enemy's harbor. 
Equipped with the " mine-evading " guards, they might even 
work their way into an enemy's harbor and plant mines under 
a vessel at anchor, or destroy shipping lying tied up at the 
docks. For defensive purposes a mine-laying submarine 
would be of great value, as it could readily plant mines, 
even under the guns of a powerful fleet, to protect its own 
entrances and harbors. 

The submarine Protector, built in 1901 and 1902 at 
Bridgeport, Connecticut, was fitted with a diving compart- 
ment which corresponds to the mine-laying compartment of 
the 1905 design above referred to. The importance of a 
mine-laying submarine for the defence of the country was 
first officially called to the attention of the American people 
by a board of officers appointed by ex-President Taft, then 
Secretary of War, as early as January, 1903. This board 
of officers consisted of General Arthur Murray, late chief 
of Coast Artillery Corps (then Major) ; Captain Charles J. 
Bailey, and Captain Charles F. Parker, of the Artillery 
Corps. The following is a copy of their recommendations 
for this type of vessel for the defence of our coast : 

" First and second, the board believes that this type of 
submarine boat is a most valuable auxiliary to the fixed-mine 
defence, and in cases where channels cannot be mined, 
owing to the depth, rough water, swift tides, or width of 
channel, it will give the nearest approach to absolute pro- 
tection now known to the board. The boat can lie for an 
indefinite time adjacent to the point to be defended in either 
cruising awash, or submerged condition, by its anchors, or 
on the bottom ready for instant use, and practically inde- 
14 209 


pendent of the state of the water and in telephonic connec- 
tion with the shore, or can patrol a mined or unmined channel 
invisible to the enemy and able to discharge its torpedoes 
at all times. It possesses the power of utilizing its engines 
in every condition except the totally submerged, and can 
always charge its storage batteries while so doing, necessi- 
tating its return to shore only when gasolene (petrol) must 
be replenished. In narrow channels the boat or boats would 
have a fixed position with a telephone cable buoyed or 
anchored at the bottom. In wide channels they would patrol 
or lie in mid-channel where they could readily meet approach- 
ing vessels. Third, as a picket or scout boat, outside of the 
mine field, or even at extreme range of gun fire, telephone 
communications can be sustained and information received, 
and instructions sent for attacking approaching vessels. 
Fourth, the test at Newport demonstrated the ease with 
which the boat can locate and pick up cables, and with minor 
alterations in the present model, junction boxes, etc., can 
be taken into the diving compartment and repaired at leisure 
while absolutely protected from hostile interference. The 
faculty possessed by the boat of manoeuvring on the bottom 
and sending out divers leaves little or nothing to be desired 
in its facilities for doing this work. 

" The boat shows great superiority over any existing 
means for attacking mine-fields known to the board. First, 
it can be run by any field, as at present installed, with but 
little or no danger from the explosion of any particular mine 
or from gun fire during the few seconds it exposes the 
sighting hood for observations, and can attack at its pleasure 
the vessels in the harbor. Second and third, the board per- 
sonally witnessed the ease with which cables can be grappled, 


raised, and cut, while the boat is manoeuvring on the bottom ; 
mine cables can be swept for, found and cut, or a diver can 
be sent out for that purpose. The crew of the boat is a 
skilled one, trained for its tests in every way likely to be 
requested by the Naval Board. It should be noted that, with 
one exception, no seamen are used, this exception being 
the man who steers and handles the boat. The crew is as 
follows: One navigator, who is also a diver; one chief engi- 
neer, one assistant engineer, one electrician, one machinist, 
one deck hand, and one cook. 

" The board recommends consideration of the foregoing 
by the General Staff. The question of the use of the White- 
head torpedoes as a part of the fixed-mine defence, fired 
from tubes on shore, is now receiving consideration. Where 
channels are wide and water swift, this use of the Whitehead 
will be very limited. With boats of this type the Whitehead 
can, it is believed, be carried within certain effective range 
in all ordinary channels, and this alone will warrant the 
consideration asked for. 

" The board recommends, in consequence of its con- 
clusions, that five of these boats be purchased for use in 
submarine defence as follows : 

" One for the School of Submarine Defence for experi- 
mental work, one for the eastern entrance of Long Island 
Sound, one for the entrance to Chesapeake Bay, one for 
San Francisco harbor, and one for Puget Sound. 

" The necessity for this kind of defence in the four locali- 
ties named needs no demonstration to those acquainted with 
them. Arthur Murray, 

"Major, Artillery Corps, President." 


The recommendations of this board were submitted to 
Congress, and the Senate passed the bill for the purchase 
of the Protector to enable the authorities to test out the 
merits of this type of boat as an adjunct to our coast defence, 
but at this time it seemed as if certain politicians and financial 
groups were able to control the policy of the United States 
Government in its development of the submarine. The result 
indicated, at least, that these influences had been sufficiently 
strong to take out of the hands of the Navy Department 
and of the officers connected with the Coast Artillery, who 
had charge of the laying of our mines and the protection 
of our coast from hostile invasion, the right to specify the 
kind of appliances they should use. Instead of leaving the 
question of defence of our country in the hands of the expert 
officers who had been trained to study the problem, Congress 
in this instance specified the exclusive use of a type of boat 
which did not possess the characteristics called for by these 
expert students of defence. 

Strange as it may seem, the opportunity of the United 
States to be a leader in the development of the type of boat 
which Germany has proven to be of such great value was 
lost by the dictation of a manufacturer of gloves from an in- 
land county. It is a sad commentary on our laws that such a 
state of affairs could exist, but I accidentally happened to 
learn that this was the case in this instance, and I fear it 
has been the case in many other instances where financial 
and political influences have been permitted to overrule the 
recommendation of officers of the army and navy. 

The Protector had been built by private capital at the 
suggestion of the Board of Construction of the United States 
Navy, at that time composed of Admirals Melville, O'Neil, 

1 1 


Bradford, Bowles, and Captain Sigsbee. In 1901 I had been 
called to Washington by a telegram from the late Senator 
Hale, who was then chairman of the Committee on Naval 
Affairs in the Senate, and was asked to submit plans and 
specifications for a submarine torpedo boat. Accordingly, 
I submitted plans for the three types above referred to. The 
Board of Construction complimented me upon the plans, and 
stated that they believed the plans of the vessels I had pro- 
posed showed great superiority over any type of vessel that 
had been heretofore proposed, either in this country or 
abroad, but at the same they stated that all appropriations 
made by Congress had specified the particular type of boat 
that must be used, and the Navy Department did not have 
any authority to authorize the construction of a different 
type. They suggested further that if I or my friends had 
sufficient capital to construct such a vessel, they would see 
that it had a fair trial upon its merits, and if it proved of 
value to the service they would recommend its adoption, 
and they did not believe that Congress would then ignore 
their recommendations. Consequently the Protector was 
built. Her performances and capabilities for defence of the 
United States were strongly endorsed by the Board of 
Officers which had tested her, and many of her characteris- 
tics have been copied by all European builders of submarines. 
After the Senate passed the bill authorizing her purchase, 
the matter was referred to a sub-committee in the House. 
As the boat had been built by private capital, and the life- 
time savings of a number of friends, as well as all my s 
own capital, were tied up in her, I was naturally desirous 
to learn if the House committee having the matter in charge 
was also going to recommend her purchase. One day I called 



at the committee room to inquire. There was no one present 
in the main committee room, so I took a seat at the table. 
After sitting there for a few moments, I heard a conver- 
sation in the chairman's room, adjoining the general com- 
mittee room. Soon the voices took on an angry tone, and 
I heard one member of Congress accuse the chairman of the 
sub-committee which had the matter in charge of intention 
to report unfavorably the recommendations for the purchase 
of the Protector. I recognized the voice of the gentleman 
who was making the accusation as that of an old retired 
general. He did not use polite language in accusing the 
chairman of the sub-committee of intending to defeat the 
purchase of the Protector in the interest of the company 
which had had sufficient influence to maintain a monopoly 
of submarine boat construction in the United States up 
to that time. 

The chairman of this sub-committee did report un- 
favorably, and, as I have already stated, a manufacturer 
of gloves from an inland section of the country was able 
to defeat the recommendation for the adoption of a 
means- of defence for this country which the best qualified 
officers in the United States service of both the army and 
the navy had recommended as of great value, and superior to 
other defensive means known to them at that time. It was 
this type of vessel which Germany later developed and which 
has so far been able to keep great fleets of almost the entire 
world from her shores. Recently the ex-member of Congress 
referred to in this connection was sentenced to. imprisonment 
for attempt to defraud the government in other matters. 

I am a great believer in the value of this type of vessel 
for harbor and coast-defence work, and I believe that in one 



country vessels of this type are now engaged as mine layers 
in the present war. Our own government has to this day 
no submarine vessel equipped for the laying of mines, 
although the Commandant of the School of Submarine 
Defence repeatedly urged their adoption. I quote from the 
annual report of the Commandant of Submarine Defence, 
1904-1905 : 

" As in the case of movable torpedoes, the question of 
the use of submarine boats as adjuncts to the fixed-?mine 
defence of the country has been under consideration by the 
board for the revision of the Report of the Endicott Board 
during the past year, and the Torpedo Board has been called 
on for remarks on this subject. 

" It is now again desired to invite special attention to 
the unquestionable value of submarine boats as an adjunct 
to fixed mine and movable torpedoes for the defence of the 
particular places named in the report of the second commit- 
tee; and also to the need of a boat of the Lake type, or 
similar type, at the School of Submarine Defence for experi- 
mental work, as this is the only submarine boat, so far as 
known, that can be efficiently used in countermining elec- 
trically controlled mines. The advisability of procuring 
submarine boats for the defence of the places named, it is 
believed, will also be seen to be unquestionable when it is 
considered that the cost of such a boat is about one-fortieth 
of that of a modern battleship ; that without such boats as an 
adjunct to the mine and gun defences of those places a more 
expensive boat of the navy will undoubtedly be called for 
as a home-guard for those waters in case of war; and that 
with submarine boats as an adjunct to the army's defences 
it will be impossible so to defend those waters as to enable 



the more expensive and seagoing boats proper of the navy 
to cut loose from those harbors with impunity and go wher- 
ever naval strategy may demand. 

(Signed) " Arthur Murray, 
"Lieutenant-Colonel, Artillery Corps." 

The principal means used in my mine-planting, mine- 
and net-evading submarine are the bottom wheels and diving 
compartment which were incorporated in my 1893 design, 
which also carried my pioneer features of lateral hydroplanes 
to get even-keel submergence ; high, water-tight superstruc- 
ture, which is indispensable for high-speed, ocean-going sub- 
marines; anchors, and lifting and lowering sighting instru- 
ments. Excepting the bottom wheels and diving compart- 
ment, most navies have now incorporated these features into 
their submarines. Three navies have adopted the bottom 
wheels, etc. These mine-evading craft are able to enter the 
enemy's own territory with impunity and destroy their mer- 
chant ships and warships in their own harbors. The Niger 
was sunk at Deal by a German submarine which is reported 
to have passed through a mine field. 

The necessity of such features as bottom wheels and 
diving compartment is now being brought out in the present 
war. I believe the mining and countermining features must 
be incorporated in one type before the submarine reaches its 
full development. The impotency of the great combined 
English and French fleets of battleships, cruisers, destroyers, 
and submarines must be galling to the people who have paid 
for them by the sweat of their brows. These fleets are im- 
potent because the Germans will not come out from behind 
their mines and forts and wage an unequal battle against 


Courtesy of the Scientific American 


Fitted with guards and gently pushing aside the cables which anchor the buoyant mines, 
the bottom-creeping submarine can proceed slowly and cautiously over the bottom and 
pass through a mine field with impunity. 

Courtesy of the Scientific America 



A submarine fitted with a device of this kind can readily under-run any net; running 
slowly on the bottom the net may be seen through the aquascope or felt with its advanced 
feelers. Even if mines are attached, divers may cut them loose, or they may be exploded 
by counter mines to make a safe passage under the nets. Surface ships attempting to guard 
the nets may be sunk by torpedoes or heavy gun fire from disappearing guns on other 
submarines, giving the bottom-working submarines ample time to clear away nets and mines. 


superior numbers, but prudently are sending out their sub- 
marines to destroy gradually the enemy which is trying to 
blockade the German ports. 

Winston Churchill, former First Lord of the British 
Admiralty, expressed the bitterness of this impotency when 
he said: " If they don't come out and fight, we will go. in 
after them and dig them out like rats"; regrettably, the 
German mines and submarines stand in the way, and are 
themselves taking their toll of ships. 

The mine-evading submarine can enter with comparative 
safety through a mine field, like a shuttle passing through 
the woof of cloth during the weaving process, and I take 
the opportunity to explain this method of entering harbors. 
To comprehend thoroughly the safety with which this is 
accomplished, it is necessary to appreciate the almost insuper- 
able difficulty of discovering an object like a submarine 
vessel when once sunk beneath the surface of the water. 
There are many sunken ships containing valuable treasures 
and cargoes that lie along our coast, and in most of the 
harbors of the world, that have been known to have sunk 
within a radius of less than a mile from some given point, 
but which have never been located. Some of these vessels 
have been searched for for years and never have been found. 
Dozens of vessels have been sunk in the waters of the North 
and East Rivers and never have been located. Some of 
the British and French submarines have' been lost in localities 
well known, but it has been impossible to locate them. 

During several years of experimental work with sub- 
marine investigating bottom conditions I have travelled many 
miles in the Chesapeake and Sandy Hook bays, along the 
Atlantic coast and Long Island Sound, and later in the 



Gulf of Finland and the Baltic Sea; and it is a fact that 
cannot be successfully disputed, technically, by any one, 
that a submarine of the type recommended by the United 
States Army Board may be taken into any harbor in the 
world entirely unseen, and remain there, if necessary, for a 
month at a time, destroying shipping, docks, and war craft 
deliberately and leisurely, and yet defy discovery. 

My method of entering harbors or through mine fields 
consists principally in providing submarine vessels with 
bottom wheels and other component undisclosed details. 
When submerged, the vessel is given sufficient negative 
buoyancy so that she will not be drifted off her course by the 
currents when resting on the bottom. The vessel is what may 
be termed a submarine automobile, and it may be navigated 
over the bottom as readily as an automobile runs on the 
surface of the earth. The submarine automobile has one 
great advantage over the surface type in its ability to mount 
steep grades or go over obstructions, because the vessel is 
so nearly buoyant that she will mount any obstruction she 
can get her bow over. 

My early experience proved to me that a submarine could 
not be satisfactorily navigated submerged in shallow, rough 
water by the same method of control as was found to be 
practical in deeper water, for the reason that the vessel would 
pump up and down with the rise and fall of the sea. Neither 
could the vessel lie at rest on the bottom, as the lift of the 
ground swell in bad weather was sufficient, even with a 
considerable negative buoyancy, to cause the vessel to pound 
so badly that the storage battery plates would be destroyed 
in a few minutes. I therefore suspended the wheels on 
swinging arms and applied a cushioning cylinder. The hull 



of the vessel was then free to move up and down, synchroniz- 
ing with the lift of the ground swell, and at the same time 
the weight of the wheels kept the submarine close to the 
bottom and able to keep her position while at rest or to be 
navigated over the bottom at any speed desired. 

Most of our Atlantic coast, Long Island, and Chesapeake 
Bay water-beds are comparatively uniform as to depths. 
In other countries I have navigated over rocky bottoms 
filled with giant boulders. A rough bottom limits the speed 
at which it is advisable to travel, but I have never seen a 
bottom so rough that it could not be readily navigated. 

" Lake " boats, fitted with bottom wheels, have, in a 
competitive test abroad, entered landlocked and fortified 
harbors without discovery, where the entrance from the sea 
has been through a tortuous channel. All other vessels, ex- 
cept the one fitted with bottom wheels, were discovered long 
before reaching the outer fortifications, because it was neces- 
sary for them to show their periscopes to sight their way. 
They struck the sides of the dredged channel, which caused 
them to broach and be discovered, because they had to 
maintain a comparatively high speed to be kept under control. 
In tests carried out in Russia the boat fitted with bottom 
wheels simply wheeled along in the channel at slow speed 
and stopped and backed to change course at will. The revo- 
lutions of the bottom wheels gave the distance travelled, the 
manometer gave the depth, and the compass the proper 
direction; consequently, with a correct chart as to courses 
and depths, navigation on the bottom in entering harbors 
is very much easier than on the surface, unless the channels 

are well buoyed. 



Most mines, as at present installed, are either of the 
observation or contact type ; the observation mines are fired 
usually from shore stations when the enemy is seen to be 
over them, while the contact mine is anchored a few feet 
beneath the surface and is either exploded by contact with 
the surface of the vessel's bottom or by the agitation caused 
by the rush of water due to the swiftly passing vessel. The 
European belligerents have put out contact mines to protect 
their capital ships from the submarines. The dread of these 
mines is holding the submarines outside of the mined areas, 
and the mines are therefore effective. None of the British 
vessels are fitted with bottom wheels and diving compart- 
ments, and they must be navigated at such speed to keep 
submerged control that they would explode a contact mine 
if either the mine or its anchor rope were touched. This also 
applies to some of my later boats, as the bottom wheels have 
been omitted to meet the demand for greater speed on the 
surface and submerged. 

I am inclined to the belief that this has been more or less 
of a mistake, because the bottom-wheeled submarine can go 
to and dig the enemy out of its base in addition to hunting 
the big surface craft of the enemy on the high seas. 

With the bottom wheels, navigation can be conducted 
so carefully over the bottom that inspection of the course can 
be made, if desired, foot by foot, as progress is made, and all 
mines can be avoided. 

The diagrammatic sketches illustrate the " Lake " method 
of operation in cutting cables, evading mines, planting coun- 
termines, clearing away mines, or passing under chains, 
cables, and nets that may be stretched across the entrances 


of t 
ct di 
e bo 

til it 


S-2.o» ffi 


:rtr M ra 3 

re ca 3 P re 

nd bea 
d cree 

.s back 
s itself 

_ re -d h 3 
o P*p g'TO 

ftp'OW p 

nd min 
of vest 
safe d: 

he bott 


w pt. re ? 

3 p trw 5 

~' re P <-*■ G. 


?P n &5* 
re ^ £Tre TO 


W p O 3'r+ 

ype may, 
• anchorag 
red craft 
y, or a mi 





3 p p cr 

re 3 << 




n sec 




EEB.iS 5 



a.n z~'® 








1-1 a 

* i 





a- 3i 



















































(Drawing by Robt. G. Skerrett.) 
Illustrating the use of the submarine supply station, which may be anchored on the 
bottom in positions known only to the commanders of submarines, w^ho may visit such 
station and renew their supplies of fuel, foodstuffs and torpedoes. The submarine boat 
approaches alongside of the supply boat, then, by utilizing the air lock, divers may pass 
out of the submarine and enter into the supply boat through its air lock compartment. A 
hose may be led from the fuel tanks of the submarine to the fuel supply tanks in the sub- 
merged station, compressed air admitted to the tanks and fuel driven from the submarine 
station to the military submarine. The author's experimental cargo-carrying submarine as 
tested out in 1900, proved the practicability of transferring cargo from one submerged 
vessel to another submarine, all the operations being performed under water. 


of the harbors to effectively stop the progress of surface 
vessels and submarines not fitted with bottom wheels. 

The diving compartment is another feature of submarine 
construction which has been neglected by the majority of 
the world's naval authorities. This device is of value not 
only to vessels of the type just described, but is of general 
usefulness to all submarines of whatever size or speed. A 
submarine crew is able by this means to go outside the 
vessel while submerged and make repairs on the propellers, 
periscopes, and other exterior parts without the necessity of 
rising to the surface or of returning to their base. Further, 
it is capable of use in such a way as to add immensely to 
the cruising radius of submarines. The method by which 
this may be accomplished I will briefly outline. 

As matters stand now, the submarines are forced to 
return to their home porta to refill their fuel tanks, to take 
on fresh provisions for the men, and to replenish their ex- 
hausted ammunition and torpedoes. Thus, even though their 
personnel gets relief by the boat's halting upon the sea-bed, 
a cog is slipped in the matter of continued military efficiency. 
Without a fresh supply of fuel oil and more food and 
munitions of war the submarine is ineffective, and when 
her objective is a distant one she must draw heavily upon 
her stores to get her there and to carry her safely back to 
her revictualling base. Indeed, she may overreach herself 
through her commander's desire to strike his remote enemy 
and then find herself forced back to the surface and without 
the means to take her home again, floating impotently upon 
the sea, an easy target for attack, and certain to be sunk 
or captured. 


These present handicaps need not be permanent ones, and 
there is no more reason why a submarine should not take 
on fresh stores in the open sea than a surface vessel. In- 
deed, a submarine should be able to replenish her fuel tanks 
and to ship provisions under some circumstances even more 
securely than its rivals that run upon the water. 

In short, a submarine should be capable of sinking to 
the sea-bed and there, beyond the reach of its foes, of draw- 
ing new strength, so to speak, from a suitably designed 
submergible supply boat. This scheme is not at all visionary. 
In part it has already been done in the past by vessels planned 
by me for commercial work, and there is no inherent difficulty 
in modifying both the military submarine and its revictualling 
consort so that they can thus function in unison for the 
purpose of giving the fighting undersea boat a wider field 
of action. 

While the torpedo-boat destroyer, the submarine's logical 
pursuer to-day, is battling with wind and wave, jarring well 
nigh her sides out, and hunting over the tumbling seas for 
elusive periscopes, the submarine can lie in ambush upon the 
ocean-bed if the water be not too deep, or at rest at any 
desired depth, held in suspension between the surface and 
the bottom by her anchors, thus conserving her energies 
so that when she does rise for a peep through her observing 
instrument she can strike more certainly with all of the 
sinister force of her chosen weapon of attack. She can 
lurk in wait for her quarry not only for one day but for 
weeks at a time, especially when sand banks a hundred feet 
below the surface offer the needful haven. 

What I propose is to provide every seagoing submarine 
with one or more mobile submersible bases of supply in the 


form of boats without motive power of their own which can 
be towed by the military under-water boat and sunk upon 
the sea-bed at convenient points where they will best suit 
the purposes of the subaqueous torpedo vessel. Naturally 
you ask what would happen if submarine scouts should 
sight a submarine towing a convoy of this sort. Wouldn't 
the submarine have to desert her supply vessels and sink alone 
beneath the surface ? My answer is no. 

Of course, this assumes that the submarine at the time 
is traversing waters that are not too deep for her to go to 
the bottom. She would take her tender or tenders down 
with her under such circumstances, for the supply boats 
would be 'built to stand safely the test submergence of the 
military submarine; that is, a depth of two hundred feet. 
The question may arise as to how I can control the sink- 
ing of the crewless consorts, holding as they would only 
supplies, and having none of the operative mechanisms 
that constitute a necessary functional part of the fighting 
undersea boat. 

This is illustrated by the method with which I controlled 
the submergence of a tender with which I salvaged the 
coal from a sunken barge in Long Island Sound years ago. 
That cargo boat had tanks into which water could be ad- 
mitted from the sea, and certain of the inlet passages were 
closed by means of check valves which were automatic, 
seating themselves by the tension of springs. In order to 
submerge the boat it was only necessary to admit water pur- 
posely and to open a valve on the deck for the escape of the 
air as the water entered. 

To refloat the tender after it had reached the bottom 
and was loaded, a diver went from the submerged Argonaut 



by way of the diving compartment and attached a hose to 
the deck vent. This hose was then connected to the com- 
pressed-air flasks in the submarine. The air was blown 
down through the pipe into the ballast tanks and the water 
forced outboard, past the check valves that yielded in that 
direction, but reseated and closed themselves as soon as 
the air pressure stopped. In this fashion buoyancy was 
reacquired and the tender rose to the surface. 

Of course, the initial sinking operation required the pres- 
ence of someone in a small boat alongside the tender which 
I have just described. This would not be feasible in the 
case of the military supply boats I have in mind. These 
must be made to sink by suitable controlling devices manipu- 
lated from within the military craft, but in principle the cycle 
would not differ from that which I have outlined. 

The deck valve allowing the air to escape from the tanks 
and the inlets admitting sea-water could be operated by 
suitable electrical mechanisms, and, once opened, the sea- 
water would enter and destroy the reserve buoyancy, thus 
causing ^he tenders to sink. Again, compressed air supplied 
from the submarine or compressed air carried by the supply 
craft themselves could be turned on by electrical control, 
and the boats brought to the surface at the will of the 
military commander. 

The supply boats, like the fighting submarine, would 
have diving compartments, but these would be arranged so 
that the bottom door could be opened from the outside by 
divers, who, by manipulating suitable valves, would fill the 
chambers with compressed air and thus permit the door to be 
opened and allow entrance into the tender. An air-lock 
would then facilitate a passage into the inside of the craft, 



where stores would be stowed. This air-lock would have 
to be operated each time materials were brought into the 
diving chamber for transfer to the submarine. 

The provisions and other portable supplies would be 
packed in metal cylinders capable of keeping out the water 
at any depth in which a diver could work safely. I should 
count upon carrying on this transfer of provisions, etc., on 
depths of one hundred feet and less, but deep enough to 
constitute a sufficient cover against detection by aeroplanes. 
To facilitate disguise in clear water the tenders could be 
painted mottled colors which would make them blend into 
the background of the sea-bed, much after the fashion 
of a flounder. 

These provision tanks, when loaded, would have a nega- 
tive buoyancy of only a few pounds, just enough to make 
them sink, and a diver would have no trouble in either carry- 
ing or dragging one of them from the tender to the open 
diving compartment of the submarine. Only food, drinking 
water, the ammunition for guns, and the disjointed sections 
of torpedoes need to be transported in this way. Fuel oil 
for the engines, and even lubricating oil, could be sent from 
the tender to the submarine in a very simple manner. The 
outboard connection of the oil tanks of the supply craft 
would have hose joined to them leading to the fuel tanks 
of the submarine, and the contents could be transferred 
simply by pumping them across. 

The supply boats should have fenders in the shape of 
long metal rods reaching out from the 'bow and the stern and 
both sides. These would give the tenders the appearance 
of gigantic water-bugs, but they serve to form smooth sur- 
faces over which the loop of a mine sweeper would glide 
15 225 


freely without encountering any projections to which it 
could cling. Thus, while the mine sweeper could certainly 
pick up a floating mine, it would pass without warning over 
a submerged supply base capable of holding stuff sufficient to 
keep a submarine going for weeks without return to her 
home port. 

With such a system of revictualling, submarines should 
be able to operate secretly for long periods and virtually 
hold to the sea during the entire time, doing in that interval 
what would be absolutely impossible for any type of surface 
fighting craft of kindred displacement and military power. 
The submarine commander would be the only one having 
knowledge of the position of his submerged supply bases, 
and he could place them under cover of night just where they 
would contribute best to the carrying out of the operations 
planned for him. 

On almost every coast there are areas where submarines 
could sink safely to the bottom in moderate depths of water, 
and there are also quiet coves but little frequented where 
ideal resting places could be found for the submerged supply 
boats. With these failing, however, the tenders could be 
sunk to the water-bed in the open sea, and with their bottom 
wheels to rest on, working upon pneumatic buffers, they need 
not feel any vertical motion of the sea even in the stormiest 
weather. I have found that such motion actually exists 
forty feet and more below the surface when the ground 
swell is deep. 

Of course, the submarine must rise to the surface from 
time to time in order to draw in fresh air to fill her pressure 
tanks and also to recharge her storage batteries. The elec- 
trical accumulators are charged by means of the oil motors, 








a> TO 






















and these engines are so greedy for air that they must have 
the free atmosphere to draw upon when working. There- 
fore the submarine would rise to the surface to perform 
these services during the night time, and boats seeking sub- 
marines after dark have a task cut out for them pretty 
much like that of hunting for the proverbial needle in a 
haystack. If the commander of a submarine recognizes that 
the first principle , of successful submarine raiding is never 
to betray his position by exposing his periscope while under 
way when within sight of the enemy, his vessel becomes in- 
vulnerable, because it is an invisible object. The submarine 
vessel is then invincible, because all the science of naval 
architecture has not been able thus far to devise a protection 
against the mine and torpedo. 



In the present European war, for the first time in the 
world's history, the submarine, as is also the case with the air- 
plane, has taken an important active part, and has become 
a weapon of unlimited value. We have seen that even as 
early as the war of the American Revolution the submarine 
was utilized, but up to modern days the submarine had 
never been a really significant or consequential factor in 
naval warfare; its use had been previously but sporadic 
and experimental. In the wars of the past it had no bearing 
upon the destinies of nations or the outcome of naval battles. 
To-day the situation is very different: the submarine has 
been called into action as a weapon of primary value and is 
producing tremendous results. 

In the conflict in which we are now engaged the destruc- 
tive capabilities of the submarine have been made use of, 
for the most part, in the work of commerce destruction and 
in the task of hampering communication by sea. It has not 
taken a great deal of active part in actual naval battles, 
although on some occasions its presence has been severely 
felt by the fleets of its enemies. But the submarine has been 
an important factor in naval warfare by reason of the fact 
that its very presence and the possibility of its use have 
checked the actions of belligerent fleets of battleships in no 
inconsiderable way. In writing of this I am reminded of 
the fact that a short time ago I was introduced to a pleasant- 



faced, motherly old lady who, when she learned that I was 
an inventor of submarine boats, exclaimed, " Why ! I should 
not think you could sleep nights from thinking of all those 
poor people who have been drowned by the U-boats ! " 

I asked the old lady if she had ever considered the sub- 
marine from another angle of view — viz., as a life and 
property saver in the present war — and she said, " No ; how 
could that be possible ? " I then explained to her that had 
it not been for the existence of the submarines many more 
lives would have been sacrificed than have been lost by the 
use of submarines. I asked her to consider what would 
have been the loss of life if the battleships, cruisers, gun- 
boats, destroyers, etc., had met on the high seas and fought 
as they were intended to fight. A submarine carries a crew 
of but a few men, while a battleship may carry a thousand, 
consequently thousands of men would have been killed in 
the old-time methods of fighting, compared with the few that 
have been killed in the submarine warfare. Then again, 
had it not been for the submarines lying off Russia's, Ger- 
many's, England's, France's, Italy's, Austria's, and even Tur- 
key's shores, many seacoast cities, towns, and hamlets would 
undoubtedly have been bombarded and destroyed, and count- 
less thousands of lives and enormous property valuations 
lost forever to the world; for one must remember that a 
life, or a property once erected by hands that are gone, if lost, 
can never be economically replaced. The only reason such 
bombardments have not occurred is the fleet commander's 
fear of that waiting, watching invisible sentinel, the sub- 
marine, which lies off the respective combatants' shores; 
and thus because of its existence thousands of lives and 
great property valuations have been saved. Thus, while the 



submarine has not been much of a fighter in naval battles, 
it has, in my opinion, been of great power as a preventer 
of fighting, and that, after all, is rather more in its favor 
than against it. 

It is, however, the submarine in the role of commerce 
destroyer which is attracting attention at the present time. 
The democratic nations of the world are face to face with the 
problem of transporting men, food, ammunition, and sup- 
plies to Europe. The submarine threatens to cut off com- 
munication between Europe and 1 the other continents. It is 
very necessary that means be taken to offset the activities 
of the submarine. It is this problem which leads me to write 
upon this topic. 

The devices which have been proposed for capturing and 
destroying the U-boats in order that navigation upon the 
Atlantic Ocean may be made safe have run into the thou- 
sands. I have had hundreds of impractical schemes sent to 
me, and the Navy Department and the Naval Consulting 
Board have been almost swamped by the various sugges- 
tions that have been pouring in from all over the country in 
response to editorials in the newspapers to " Save us from 
the U-boat ! " ; " American inventors, rise in your might and 
strike down this peril which works unseen, like an assassin 
in the dark!" etc. The devices proposed run all the way 
from blowing up the whole restricted area or war zone of the 
ocean to fishing for submarines from aeroplanes, which 
latter method offers a good chance for sport, at least; and 
if the submarine designers and commanders were asleep the 
fishermen might have a good chance of making a catch. 
Many of my engineering friends with whom I have discussed 
the U-boat problem have urged upon me that I ought, in 



order to save the time, energy, and money of many earnest 
and patriotic — but misinformed — citizens, to publish some 
material showing the fallacies in many of these schemes 
which apparently are so promising, and at the same time 
to point out wherein some have value, and along what lines 
I believe success to be attainable. 

At the beginning of the war I myself sent to the Navy 
Department a number of devices for detecting the presence 
of and destroying submarines in shoal waters, some of 
which may have already been known to the Navy Depart- 
ment, and several of which I have since seen published as 
being the ideas of others ; this goes to show that where many 
minds are working toward the solution of any particular 
problem several are likely to arrive at the same point. In 
the interest of public policy I do not think that any device 
hitherto unknown which offers a chance of success if used 
against an enemy U-boat should be described, and therefore 
I should not describe any such device if such were known, 
but shall limit my remarks to a discussion of some of the 
devices that have been proposed and described publicly. 
Trying to serve the country by developing a certain idea, 
when that idea is itself old or impractical, is evidently a 
waste of mental energy and money. Further, to show how 
some of these methods of attack may be offset by the sub- 
marine commanders will also serve to prevent the country 
from relying on false defences; the submarine is a real 
menace, and should not be lightly regarded. I hope to im- 
press upon people that this is a very serious proposition. It 
is a problem which should and does attract the leading minds 
of the mechanical world ; and it is not to be coped with by 
any fanciful notions. While the devices proposed thus far 



are individually very numerous, they may be classified into 
a few distinct categories. I would designate them as follows : 

Offensive Devices: 

I. Airplanes and dirigibles for the location and destruction 
of submarines. 

(a.) By bomb attacks. 

(b) By directing surface boats to' the attack of 
II. Offensive appliances for use of surface vessels : 
Sound detectors. 

Submerged mines operated from shore stations. 
Deck guns. 
Under- water guns. 
Aerial torpedoes. 
Echo devices. 

Magnetic devices for locating and destroying sub- 

III. Channel and open-sea nets. 

IV. Submarine vs. submarine. 

Defensive Devices: 

I. To be installed on surface vessels to baffle and elude 
submarines : 
Sound detectors (spoken of above). 
Blinding searchlights. 
Blinding apparatus. 
II. To offset torpedo attack: 






III. Unsinkable ships. 

IV. Tactics to elude the submarine : 

Convoying a merchant fleet. 
Zigzag course. 
Smoke screen. 
Cargo submarine. 
High speed. 

In considering the practicability or value of these devices, 
we must first consider the capabilities of the submarine and 
the proper tactics for her commander to pursue. In a paper 
read before the Institution of Naval Architects in London, 
in 1905, I described, illustrated by diagrams, the proper 
method to be pursued in attacking a surface ship, in 
which I contended that the commander of a submarine, 
on sighting an enemy, should always keep the hull of his 
own boat below the horizon in its relation to the enemy 
vessel, and try to intercept the approaching vessel by 
taking frequent observations of her course and speed. When 
the two vessels approach sufficiently near to make it possible 
for the larger surface vessel to observe the smaller submarine 
(the comparative range of visibility being proportionate to 
the exposed surfaces of the two vessels above the horizon), 
the submarine should then entirely submerge, with her tele- 
scopic periscope withdrawn below the surface of the water 
to avoid the making of a " wake " — which looks like a white 
streak on the water. When the commander wishes to make 
an observation he should first bring his submarine to rest 



and then extend the periscope above the surface for a brief 
instant only, and thus avoid the chance of being seen. Ear- 
lier in the war it was common to detect the submarine by her 
wake, but now, since the fitting of merchantmen with guns, 
the above tactics are usually pursued, and the first inti- 
mation the crew has of the presence of the submarine 
is the shock of the explosion caused by the torpedo 
" striking home." 

Aeroplanes and Dirigibles. — These are undoubtedly 
valuable near land in shallow water, providing the water is 
clear and has a bottom in striking contrast to the hull of 
the submarine. I should consider the dirigible likely to 
prove of more value than the aeroplane, owing to its ability 
to hover directly over and regulate its speed to that of the 
submarine and thus enable itself to drop depth bombs more 
accurately. Experience has shown that it is almost impos- 
sible to calculate where a bomb will strike when dropped from 
a swiftly moving aeroplane. The chance of its striking the 
submarine would be very slight. The use of aeroplanes has, 
however, forced the submarines away from shoal clear water 
and probably has been instrumental, also, in causing them 
to become equipped with high-angle rapid-firing guns. In 
a battle between swiftly moving aeroplanes and submarines 
with high-powered guns firing shrapnel, the chances are 
nearly all in favor of the submarine, as they can carry the 
most powerful guns and are firing from a much more stable 
platform; in fact, the best analogy I can think of is that of 
a gunner in a " blind " firing at a flock of ducks passing 
overhead. Aeroplanes have been used, however, as scouts, 
merely to detect a submarine and direct surface ships to the 
attack; also, aeroplanes have directed trawlers to a sub- 



(Drawing by T. E. Lake.) 
For defense of coast lines aeroplanes and submarines may work in conjunction. Aero- 
planes, with their enormous range and high speed can locate surface ships many miles 
away, beyond the range of a submarine's periscope or sound-detecting devices. It could 
then direct the submarine by wireless or direct communication. Aeroplanes, however, 
are of great danger to enemy submarines. Flying at certain altitudes they can see sub- 
marines a short distance below the water and swoop down on them, dropping depth bombs 
or trailing torpedoes. 


marine lying submerged at a shallow depth. This method of 
attack has undoubtedly been successful in some instances, 
but where success might have been met with in this manner 
with the earlier submarine boats, which were not provided 
with guns, it is now a problem easily met by submarine archi- 
tects. Submarine boats may be built which have no fear 
of this combination. One of my earliest designs provided 
for a revolving armored turret to carry heavy-calibre guns ; 
this revolvable armored turret would extend only above the 
surface and would carry guns of sufficient calibre to sink any 
trawler, destroyer, or other craft except an armored^ ship. 
It has recently been reported that the Germans are bringing 
out ships fitted with turrets of this type, and as they are 
familiar with my designs from the Patent Office specifica- 
tions, and also have my working drawings of a large cruiser 
submarine mounted with guns, in 1905, I have no doubt 
that the report is true, as they have consistently been the 
first to adopt such new devices as may be needed to offset 
any attack against their submarines, or to increase their 
means of offence against surface craft without relying upon 
torpedoes alone. As far back as 1902 the Protector was 
fitted with a small gun on top of her conning tower, with 
the breech extended into the sighting hood and a tampon 
controlled from within the turret for closing the muzzle, 
so that no water would enter the barrel when the vessel was 
submerged, thus permitting a new cartridge and shell to be 
inserted into the breech when submerged ; then, by momen- 
tarily bringing the conning tower above the surface, we could 
fire, then submerge and reload, rest and fire again, etc., thus 
providing a disappearing gun on a very stable platform. 



In deep water the submarine may readily escape detection 
by aeroplanes by sinking below the depth to which vision 
can penetrate. This depends upon the amount of foreign 
substance held in suspension in the water. Along the 
Atlantic coast it is possible to see only a few feet; as you 
go off shore vision becomes clearer, and it would probably 
vary during the dry seasons from four to five feet near 
shore to forty or fifty feet well off shore. The greatest 
distance I was ever able to see in my experiments in the 
Chesapeake Bay with a powerful searchlight was forty feet. 
In Long Island Sound one can seldom see over fifteen feet, 
and after storms, when sediment is carried into the Sound, 
sometimes it is difficult to see over three or four feet. I 
have been down on muddy bottom at a depth of one hundred 
feet and could not see my hand held close to my face. At 
a depth of one hundred and twenty-five feet in the Baltic 
on sandy bottom I was able to see twenty-five feet. This 
was about eight miles off shore, opposite Libau, Russia. In 
the English Channel the frequent storms stir up so much 
sediment that it is seldom possible to see over fifteen feet, 
while in the Mediterranean and our Southern waters near the 
Florida coast, near Nassau, and in the Caribbean Sea, it is 
possible at times to see seventy-five or even one hundred feet. 
Now there are means available to the submarine to enable 
it to lie at rest submerged at depths exceeding one hundred 
feet, and yet have a full view of surface ships and also 
to scan the heavens, therefore I would say that aeroplanes 
and dirigibles will prove ineffective against submarines fitted 
with revolvable turrets, high-angle firing guns, or where 
they may be operating in clear water exceeding one hundred 
feet in depth or in shallow water where the sediment held in 



suspension is in sufficient quantity to prevent discovery. 
Aviators with whom I have discussed this problem tell me 
they can seldom detect objects lying on the bottom, even in 
comparatively shallow water. 

Sound Detectors. — We have heard many claims put 
forth concerning the great results which were to be attained 
in fighting the U-boat by the use of various sound-receiving 
devices in the nature of microphones, in detecting the pres- 
ence of submarines by hearing the hum of the motors and 
the noise of their machinery. These devices are proposed 
both for offensive and defensive purposes. A vessel equipped 
with such mechanism is believed to be able to escape upon 
hearing a U-boat, or to seek out the submarine and destroy 
it. Those who have been expecting so much from this 
source are probably not aware of the fact that submarine 
inventors themselves were the first to utilize this method 
of sound detection under water to enable them to apprehend 
the presence of other vessels in their vicinity before coming 
to the surface ; they have made use of such devices for years. 

I well remember my first long submergence of ten hours' 
duration down at Hampton Roads, near the mouth of the 
Chesapeake Bay, July 28, 1898. During this period of sub- 
mergence the machinery was shut down for a time, and one 
of the first sensations we experienced was the strange sounds 
which came to us of the propellers and paddle-wheels of sur- 
face vessels passing in our vicinity. The first vessel that 
we heard was a tugboat; we could tell that by the sound of 
her puffing exhaust and the characteristic sound of her 
machinery. We thought at first she was coming right over 
where we were submerged, and feared she might carry away 
our masts, which extended above the surface, but she passed 



on, and then we heard coming at a distance the uneven and 
characteristic sound of a paddle-wheel steamer as her paddles 
slapped the surface of the water. Then we heard the slow, 
heavy pound of an ocean liner coming in, and knew that she 
had a loose crank-pin or cross-head bearing by the pound 
every time the crank-pin passed over the dead centre of its 
shaft. The click, click of the little high-speed launch was 
also easily detected — all this without any sound receiver on 
the vessel. Any of us simply sitting or standing anywhere 
in the submarine could hear outside sounds. By putting the 
head of an iron bolt against the skin of the ship and sticking 
the end of the bolt in my ear the sound was much intensified, 
as the whole steel fabric of the ship became a great sound 
collector. This led me to make experiments toward deter- 
mining the direction of the sounds under water, and I applied 
for a patent on a device which could be swung in different 
directions, on the theory that the sound waves would be 
stronger when coming straight from their source, but shortly 
after this the experiments of Professor Gray and Messrs. 
Munday and Millett were published and I dropped my appli- 
cation and did nothing further in the matter, as they seemed 
to have solved the question in a satisfactory manner. After- 
ward Professor Fessenden brought out his oscillator and 
improved sound detector, with which it is possible for sub- 
marines to carry on wireless conversations under water when 
at a distance of several hundred feet apart, and to pick up 
the characteristic sounds of different types of surface ships 
at considerable distances. Sound detectors are of greater 
benefit to submarines lying in wait for their enemies than 
they are to surface vessels, as they enable the submarine to lie 
at rest, submerged and invisible, herself giving no betraying 




sound, while no surface ship can come within the zone of 
her receiving apparatus without betraying its presence. 

Submerged Sound Detectors. — It has been stated that 
sound detectors connected to shore stations have been able 
to detect submarines when passing in their vicinity, and, by 
the triangulation method as applied to the intensity of sounds, 
observers have been able to tell approximately the location 
of the U-boat from the sound of the U-boat's, machinery. 
The obvious thing for submarine designers and commanders 
to do to offset this danger to the submarine is to use noiseless 
machinery in the U-boats, or to send other U-boats with a 
wire-cutting grapnel to cut the shore connections of the sound 
transmitter. It is apparent that this method of attack is 
applicable only to points close to shore or in places like the 
English Channel. 

Deck Guns. — The mounting of deck guns on merchant- 
men for defence against the submarine has proved of slight 
value. When it was first proposed to mount guns on Ameri- 
can merchant ships I wrote the Navy Department on March 
ii, 1917, in part as follows: " I have tried, in the interest 
of this country, to impress this fact upon the people (that 
the submarine, because it is invisible, is invincible), but I 
find in talking with many intelligent people, that they do 
not and cannot comprehend the possibilities of the submarine 
when it is taken seriously and the effort is made to get all 
there is out of it, without reference to political, financial, or 
prejudiced interests. The destructiveness of the submarine 
is growing; devices which were effective in detecting and 
trapping submarines early in the war are now becoming 
useless. The theory that putting a gun on a merchant ship 
is going to protect that ship, her crew and passengers, will, 



I fear, be equal to the signing of the death-warrant of all 
that are on that ship if we are at war, as the slogan in to-day's 
headlines (as per copy clipping enclosed) — ' Sink any ship 
you see ' — will be met, I fear, by a German slogan of ' Sink 
every ship you meet, but don't let them see you do it.' " 

Since that time many ships fully equipped with arms have 
been sunk by torpedoes and have never seen the submarines 
which destroyed them. There is no way to attack submarines 
by gun fire unless they are seen, and commanders of sub- 
marines are becoming expert in concealing their presence. 

Submarine Guns, Aerial Torpedoes, Searchlights. — 
For an under-water gun to be effective, there must first be 
discovered some way to locate the target ; this, of course, is 
almost impossible. Aerial torpedoes or depth bombs might 
be effective if the submarine were seen, but it is the business 
of the submarine commander to keep out of sight. Powerful 
searchlights have very little chance of picking up the peri- 
scope or conning tower of a submarine. I remember lying 
all one night in the Argonaut, during a storm, at the outer 
edge of the mine fields off Fortress Monroe, at the time 
the whole country was in dread of an invasion by Cervera's 
fleet during the Spanish-American War. We were in for- 
bidden territory, having been delayed by the storm in getting 
into harbor before " Curfew " rang, so to speak. The 
powerful searchlights of Fortress Monroe were playing all 
night, but they did not detect our presence, as only our sight- 
ing hood was above water, and presented such a small object, 
and being painted white, it was not distinguished from the 
" white caps " on top of the sea caused by the storm. 

Searchlights under water are useless because of the par- 
ticles of foreign matter held in suspension which reflect back 



the glare of the light. The Argonaut was fitted with power- 
ful searchlights and reflectors located in her extreme bow, 
with a pilot-house or lookout just above the three search- 
light windows. The greatest distance we were ever able 
to see was during some night experiments in the Chesapeake 
Bay during a long dry spell, when the sediment had had an 
opportunity to settle, and that was only forty feet. The light 
would penetrate through the water several hundred feet and 
make a glow on the surface, but vision could not penetrate 
the water. For instance, it is said that after a storm a glass 
of Mississippi River water will show fully an inch of sedi- 
ment. To see through three or four inches of that kind of 
water, therefore, one must see through an inch of mud. It 
is well known that no light has yet been found that will 
enable vision to penetrate through a heavy fog, due to the 
reflection of light upon the minute crystals of water held 
in suspension in the air. It appears hopeless, therefore, to 
expect vision to locate submarines by seeing through the 
opaque substance held in suspension in all water. 

Echo and Magnetic Devices. — Locating submarines by 
echo has been proposed, but apparently without thought as 
to what would happen to the vessel giving out the sound in 
the effort to get an echo back from a submerged submarine, 
lying in wait with her " ears " waiting to hear some sus- 
picious sound. Also, magnetic devices for the purpose of 
detecting submarines, if ever found practical, will probably 
be kept so busy leading their operators to and investigating 
large steel ships that have already been sunk by submarines 
that they will probably miss the little submarine, which can 
easily sink them while they are investigating these other 
sunken ships. 

16 241 


Channel and Open-sea Nets. — These have been and are 
being used with some success, but that success has been 
attained only because at the beginning of the war the sub- 
marines had no means for determining the presence of the 
nets before becoming entangled in their meshes, and when 
they once became entangled they had no means to cut them- 
selves loose. Devices are now available which enable the 
commander of a submarine to locate a net before reaching 
it, and to destroy that net and all its attached mines with 
but little danger to his own vessel. To what extent these 
devices are being used is unknown. However, when the 
submarine is not especially fitted for the detection and 
destruction of nets and attached mines, they are probably the 
most efficient type of trap yet provided for capturing and 
destroying these " submarine devil fish." The Scientific 
Ainpricam, published an article by me in 1915 describing 
a submarine fitted with mine-evading devices and meant 
to under-run nets, which has been reproduced in the 
previous chapter. 

The above articles having been published previous to 
our country entering the war, and being thus of public 
knowledge, it is permissible to republish them as a method 
which might be used to advantage in preventing the German 
submarines from coming out from their bases. It is admitted 
that the allied fleets are overwhelmingly superior to the 
German fleet, yet they are impotent to attack the German 
battle fleet or to make reprisals on Germany for the constant 
depletion of their merchant fleet, because Germany's fleet 
of battleships, cruisers, and merchantmen will not come out 
in the open, but lies safe behind nets and mine fields as their 
inner defence, using her submarines on her outer line of 


to fc> 

''" , f 


3 = 


§ 1 

$ ''.;;■■.'■ 


* ■ ' 

6- s. 1 

■ U; 


\ ';./ v 




i ■; » : ' 



i .'■ J .■■■ 

3 , 



11 i-i 




• >H- ; ' 

cq hj 

' « & 

g w 

i- ■ ■ # ; It t" ; 

g H 


p , 
S <?> 

3 en 


! s' ■ V ! * 





defence. As mentioned, Winston Churchill said we must 
" dig them out like rats out of a hole." That was over three 
years ago, but not one has been dug out as yet, and, although 
it would be a very expensive process to do so, it might be 
possible, by the cooperation of submarines, surface ships, 
trawlers, and aeroplanes, to move forward gradually and 
expansively a double or treble line of nets and to defend such 
a line of nets just outside of the range of the most powerful 
shore-defence guns. The battleships should be protected 
by operating between the line of nets to prevent attack upon 
them by submarines in the rear. Bottom-working sub- 
marines would be needed to clear away the mines and nets 
of the enemy as the mines and nets were moved forward. 
Constant patrol and repair of the nets would be maintained 
under the guns of the net-protected fleet, and allied sub- 
marines must be on constant attendance in advance of the 
first line of nets to meet the concerted attack of a portion 
of the German fleet in " rushing " the line — which must be 
expected in the attempt to break the same — in order to let 
out a fleet of their submarines into the open sea to continue 
their attacks on the allied and neutral commerce of the world. 
This seems to me the only practical way of stopping up the 
hole or holes through which the German submarines come 
out, and to make it effective it would require a double line 
of nets and patrol fleets extending from Norway to Scotland, 
and across the English Channel, and across the entrance to 
the Dardanelles from Brindisi, Italy, to the Albanian coast. 
Also, battleships which should be unsinkable and provided 
with longer-range guns than those of the enemy would be 
required. Perhaps the combined navies of the world as 
arrayed against the Central Powers could accomplish it, but 



unless their guns were more powerful and far-reaching 
than the shore guns, even then they could not land an 
invading army. 

Submarines vs. Submarines. — Submarines to search for 
and sink other submarines have been proposed in all sorts 
of forms and advocated in the press under various titles, 
such as the " Bloodhounds of the Sea " and other fantastic 
and sensational captions. Submarines cannot fight sub- 
marines, because they cannot see each other, and if they 
are fitted with noiseless machinery they cannot hear each 
other. Therefore one might put thousands of submarines in 
the great ocean, and so long as they kept submerged the 
chance of their ever finding or colliding with one another 
would probably be not once in a year. 

Derelicts have been known to keep afloat on the ocean 
for years, although constantly searched for as a menace to 
navigation. Here the searchers have had sight to aid them, 
and the object of their search has floated on one plane, the 
surface of the water, while submarines may navigate or 
remain at rest at various planes up to a depth of about two 
hundred feet, which is equivalent to multiplying the area 
of the ocean to be searched several times, and that in dark- 
ness, without the aid of sight to assist. It is ridiculous to 
think that anything can be accomplished except by the merest 
chance by one submarine searching for another. 

Our attention will now turn to consideration of devices 
of the second class ; namely, those which have been offered 
as a means of defence against the submarine. 

Blinding Searchlight; Blinding Apparatus. — Blinding 
devices have been proposed which aim to direct powerful 
searchlights against the periscope so as to blind the com- 



mander. These are schemes based on very false notions. 
Submarine commanders frequently have to con their ship 
against the sun's rays, and have colored glasses to enable 
them to withstand the intensity of the sun's rays, so that it 
would be impossible to blind them this way. Further," I 
cannot imagine a more desirable target for a commander to 
direct his torpedoes against than a bright spot, either on 
the surface or submerged, as he knows the searchlight is 
probably on what he wants to hit; it becomes an illuminated 
bull's-eye for his target. Again, it has been proposed to 
blind the periscope by putting a film of oil on the surface 
to obscure the object glass of the periscope when it emerges 
through this oil, and a member of one of the British com- 
missions told me he knew of shiploads of oil being pumped 
overboard, possibly for this purpose, or to show the course 
of a periscope through its " slick." Some periscopes have 
been built with means for squirting alcohol, gasoline, or 
other substances to clear the object glass if ice or salt forms 
on it. A device of this kind would clear off the oil. 

Nets ; Plates. — There have been many devices proposed 
for warding off the torpedoes, the usual weapon of the sub- 
marine. The most common of these schemes designate the 
use of nets or plates suspended from booms carried out from 
the sides of the ship and extending down into the water. 
Any device of this kind seriously handicaps the ship's speed, 
and, if she is once sighted by a submarine, is almost sure to be 
come up with and attacked. Plates, to be effective against 
a broadside attack, would need to be the full length and 
extend to the full depth of the ship. Now, skin friction 
of a ship's plating is the principal resistance to be overcome 
in forcing a ship through the water up to speeds of about 



tea knots, the average speed of the cargo-carrying ship. If 
you increase the speed beyond ten knots, other resistances 
come more prominently into effect, such as wave-making 
resistance, etc. Now a ship afloat has two sides, while a 
plate suspended in the water equal to the length and depth 
of the ship also must have two sides, and thus presents 
nearly the same square feet of plate surface to the friction 
of the passing waters as the two sides of the ship, and two 
plates, one on each side, present nearly twice the area and 
thus very materially reduce the speed. This resistance is 
further augmented by the roll and pitch of the vessel, and 
in a severe storm the plates would be unmanageable and 
of great danger to the ship itself. The resistance of nets 
with its vertical members is much greater than that of plates. 
To get some idea of what the resistance of a vertical rod 
extending down into the water is, take a broom handle and 
attempt to hold it vertical when it is extended down into 
the water from a launch running at about ten knots; it is 
almost impossible to hold it. A net with a mesh fine enough 
to catch a torpedo would consist of thousands of vertical 
members as well as horizontal members extending down 
into the water. 

I have been informed by one naval architect of standing 
who investigated this phase of the problem that nets of 
sufficient strength to protect the sides of a ten-knot ship 
from a torpedo attack cut the speed of the ship from ten 
knots down to two and one-half knots per hour. It would 
therefore take a ship protected in this way four times as 
long to make her voyage ; her chance of discovery would 
therefore be four times as great and her chance of destruc- 
tion, if once discovered, be almost certain, as a submarine 



could readily overtake her and plant mines in her course or 
even tow a mine underneath her bottom and explode it there, 
which would destroy the ship much more completely and 
quickly than a Whitehead torpedo exploded against her side. 
Devices have also been developed which enable a torpedo 
to dive under a net and explode under a ship's bottom by a 
slightly delayed detonator. 

Torpedoes have also been built with net-cutting devices, 
and they have been known to penetrate a ship's plating and 
sink the vessel without exploding. It is not an easy matter 
to stop a projectile weighing nearly a ton speeding at thirty- 
five or forty miles an hour. I can see no hope in stopping 
the submarine menace by any device in this class. 

Magnets. — Some proposals have been made to divert the 
torpedo by powerful magnets extended out beyond the sides 
of the ship or at the ends — on the theory, I suppose, of 
fishing for little fish in a pan of water — the Whitehead 
torpedo being built of steel in this country and England. 
It is not generally known that the Schwartzkopf torpedo built 
by the Germans is built of bronze, or at least it was when 
I went through their works in Berlin several years ago. 
Even were it of steel, I doubt if a magnet could be built 
powerful enough to attract or divert a Whitehead steel tor- 
pedo from its course unless it passed very close to the magnet, 
as any artificially erected magnetic force diminishes in 
strength very rapidly as the distance from the object is in- 
creased. Recall, for instance, the powerful magnets used 
in handling scrap and pig iron ; while they will lift pigs or 
billets of iron weighing tons when in direct contact, they 
will not exert sufficient magnetic force to lift any iron at a 
distance of only a few inches. 



Bombs. — The throwing of bombs in the water to inter- 
cept the oncoming torpedo might possibly divert its course 
if the torpedo were seen, but of all the ships that have been 
lost how few have seen the torpedo which did the damage! 
The white wake due to the air exhausted from the engines 
of the torpedo is frequently seen, but the air wake does not 
show on the surface from a torpedo running at any con- 
siderable depth until after the torpedo itself has passed on, 
as it takes quite some time for the air bubbles to reach 
the surface, and in a choppy sea the wake is very difficult 
to see in any case. 

Discs. — Whirling discs spinning through the water to 
catch the nose of the torpedo and whirl it out of its course is 
one of the fanciful schemes which has attracted some press 
notice. The horsepower required to whirl the discs during 
one voyage would probably tax the full capacity of the ship 
to provide fuel and power enough to keep them whirling. 

Unsinkable Ships. — Unsinkable ships are possibly prac- 
tical to a limited extent. Numerous proposals of ship con- 
struction along this line have been made, mostly of ships 
built up on the cellular system. Some proposals have also 
been made for carrying the cargo in hermetically sealed tanks 
that would assist in floating the ship if she were torpedoed. 
The objections to the construction of vessels of this class 
are its enormously increased cost over the ordinary cargo 
ship, the reduced carrying capacity per ton of displacement 
of such vessels, and the impossibility of preventing injury to 
ships of this sort to such an extent as to make them un- 
manageable. Any surface ship, to meet fully the submarine 
menace, must be not only unsinkable, but it must also be 




■■■'.'. ■ A I ■.;'-■ 



'. ■-'*& 




' *. ». ■ ? 









! Jt ' ' 







They will carry 7500 tons of cargo on a surface displacement of 11,500 tons; their submerged 
displacement is about 13,500 tons. 


indestructible. When a ship once becomes unmanageable 
and incapable of getting away, a powerful mine or mines 
may be placed at considerable depth under her bottom and 
the whole fabric blown up into the air. 

Convoys. — Convoying a merchant fleet offers perhaps 
some safety to the individuals on the ships in case some of 
them are lost, but I cannot see that it offers much protection 
to the fleet as a whole, as the speed of the fleet is limited 
to that of the slowest ship, and the smoke or appearance 
of the leading ships are more apt to give a waiting slow-speed 
submarine time to catch up with the tail end of the fleet. 
If it came to a gun fight the fleet might have the advantage, 
but in experimental work I have frequently run in amidst a 
fleet of ships, and their first knowledge of my presence was 
when the periscope was extended above the surface. As it is 
only necessary to extend this for a period of a few seconds' 
duration to get the range and bearing of one of the ships 
to aim the torpedo, the chance of a gunner getting' the 
range and hitting the periscope is very slight, and, even 
if the periscope were destroyed, it is easy to replace it 
with a spare one. 

Smoke Screens. — To hide vessels in clouds of smoke 
so as to avoid being seen by submarines has been proposed- 
as a method for eluding the U-boats. This procedure would 
really assist submarine commanders in their search for prey, 
for the smoke would notify them of the presence of vessels 
far below the horizon, whose location and course they would 
otherwise not be aware of. They have a term in the British 
navy called " firing into the Brown," which means firing 
at a group of vessels, expecting that a certain percentage 



of hits will be made, depending on how close a formation 
of ships is being kept ; firing into the " smoke " would be 
apt to get some. Smoke screens can be used effectively only 
when the wind happens to be proportionate to the speed of 
the ships and blowing in the right direction. With a head 
wind or a strong side wind some of the vessels forming the 
convoy are sure to be exposed to attack. 

Zigzag. — 'Steering zigzag courses adds to the time of 
crossing from one port to another, and affords only a slight 
measure of additional safety, as a ship running a zigzag 
course takes much longer to make a crossing, and is therefore 
longer exposed to danger ; besides, this process adds very 
materially to the cost of the voyage. It probably does add 
somewhat to her chances of escape, as a submarine lying 
in wait anticipating that she will pass within torpedo range 
might be fooled by her zigzagging out of the way. On the 
other hand, a submarine might be lying in wait too far to 
one side of her course to be able to intercept her, and the 
ship might just as likely as not, not knowing she was there, 
zigzag right toward her and get caught. 

In facing the submarine problem, the nations at war 
with Germany are thus forced to adopt tactics of three 
kinds : First, to destroy the enemy submarines — I have been 
informed from reliable sources that England has over five 
thousand vessels searching for U-boats; second, to make 
cargo vessels invulnerable to torpedo attacks; and, thirdly, 
to elude and escape the U-boats. No great measure of suc- 
cess, no great results, have come out of attempts of the first 
two orders ; the U-boats have in general gone unscathed, and 
they have inflicted damage of such an appalling nature as 
to terrify those cognizant of the shipping needs of Europe. 



In my judgment, however, efforts to combat the submarine 
should be concentrated on devising ways and means to elude 
it ; this is the only solution which promises results. I shall 
therefore devote the remainder of this chapter to a discus- 
sion of the problem of eluding submarines and how it may 
best be accomplished. 

Cargo Submarines. — In my judgment, the only way that 
any nation will be able ultimately to continue its commerce 
with any degree of safety or certainty when blockaded by 
submarines will be by the construction of large mer- 
chant submarines which will be able to evade the enemy 
U-boats successfully. 

I have pointed out above that " submarines cannot fight 
submarines," because they cannot see or locate each other. 
It is this very thing which will enable the cargo-carrying sub- 
marine to evade the military submarine. They are also able 
to evade all surface craft, either friend or foe. Captain Paul 
Koenig, of the Deutschland, told me that most of his journey 
in the Deutschland was upon the surface. He stated that her 
low visibility enabled him to see all approaching ships before 
they could see her, and that it was only necessary for him to 
submerge and rest until the surface ship had passed on her 
way. The tactics of the larger cargo-carrying submarines 
would be the same. They need not have much radius of 
action when submerged ; all they need to do is to hide until the 
danger has passed. If desired, however, their radius of sub- 
merged action may be increased to equal or largely exceed 
that of a military submarine, but this would unnecessarily 
increase their cost of construction; otherwise the cost of 
building such vessels should not exceed twenty-five per cent, 
more than the cost of constructing a first-class surface ship. 



Now I have prepared a few diagrams showing the advan- 
tage of various types of vessels in evading the submarine, 
and of these I shall treat immediately, as they illustrate the 
points of my contention perfectly. There was a time when 
everybody thought the earth was flat, but now I believe it is 
generally conceded that it is round. Every one knows that 
when the sun or moon sinks beneath the horizon it cannot be 
seen, neither can anything else which is below the horizon, 
so if the horizon intervenes between two distant observers 
they cannot see each other. Now by referring to our text- 
books we find that if an observer is stationed at a height of 
fifteen feet above the surface of the sea the horizon is five 
and one-eighths miles distant, so that if there were another 
observer stationed on the other side of the horizon at the 
same distance and height from the surface of the sea they 
could not see each other, as the surface of the earth or sea, 
being round, would stand up like a hill between them. 

The diagram shown herewith shows the distance of hori- 
zon in miles from o to two hundred feet elevation above 
the surface of the water. 

I have drawn a sketch— in which the scale of distance is 
exaggerated in order to better illustrate my meaning — of the 
earth's surface to show the comparative visibility of vessels 
when seen from a military submarine, lying in wait, with 
periscope extended fifteen feet above water. Now take such 
ships as the Lusitania, shown in position No. 5 on the dia- 
gram, with her smoke-stacks extending over one hundred 
feet above the surface of the sea; their tops would appear 
above the horizon and become visible to a distant observer 
with a powerful glass, stationed at, say, fifteen feet above 
the surface, at a distance of about eighteen and three-eighths 


By Courtesy of Motorship 


The " Deutschland" was the first submarine cargo-carrier to cross the Atlantic Ocean. 
She was under the command of Captain Paul Koenig and proved the practicability of running 
the English blockade four times before war between Germany and the United States caused 
her owners to discontinue her sailings. Had war not come between the two countries, her 
German owners would undoubtedly have had submarine cargo-carrying vessels making 
weekly sailings between the United States and Germany. 


miles. Her smoke-stack would also become visible through 
a telescopic periscope, the object glass of which was extended 
fifteen feet above the surface, while men seated in a rowboat 
could not see each other because of the intervening " hill," 
so to speak, at a distance of four miles apart. If they were 
under water in a submarine they could not see each other 
at all unless they had the periscopes elevated above the 
surface. In that case it would not be possible for one peri- 
scope to see another at any considerable distance, because 
the periscope is such a small object, and vision through it 
does not compare with natural vision, owing to the fact that 
there is considerable loss of light in passing the image of 
external objects through lenses and prisms. Hence it has 
been found necessary to reduce the field of vision to about 
one-half that of natural vision to give the effect of true 
distance, and as soon as twilight falls it is practically useless. 
I have taken fifteen feet above the surface without the 
submarine's conning tower showing, for if her conning 
tower is shown above the surface she is in danger of being 
herself discovered. 

From the above data we are able to determine the proba- 
bility of being discovered. We take the case of the largest 
and fastest ocean liners, such as the Lusitania as one illus- 
tration. We will assume that the Lusitania is making her 
maximum speed of about twenty-five knots, which is about 
the maximum of speed yet attained in a large surface freight- 
and passenger-carrying ship, and from our scale of vision as 
applied to upper diagram No. 5 we see that her top works 
will become visible above the horizon at a distance of eighteen 
and three-eighths miles from the periscope of the submarine. 
The commander in the submarine, by using his range and 



direction finder with which all military submarines are fitted, 
finds the ship to be pursuing a course and speed that will 
cause her to pass probably within ten miles of the submarine 
station in about thirty-five minutes, which is too far off to 
attack by torpedo. Now, while submarines have a sub- 
merged speed of only about ten knots, the commander is 
quickly able to ascertain that he can intercept the twenty- 
five-knot boat by laying his own course at right angles to the 
approaching ship, and that, if the ship keeps her course and 
speed, in thirty-five minutes he can be within torpedo range, 
as will be seen by reference to this sketch (see diagram, 
position No. 5). 

Now take for another comparison a slow-speed merchant- 
man of the tramp type making ten knots, which is about the 
economical speed for this class of ship. Her smoke might 
be the first thing to betray her approach, but for purposes of 
comparison take her smoke-stack also, which is the first solid 
portion of the ship to appear. The smoke-stacks of this class 
of vessel would probably not be over forty feet in height 
above water level, therefore, if she were making the same 
course as the high-speed ship, it will be observed by referring 
to diagram, position No. 4, and the distance and speeds 
mentioned thereon, that the submarine at a speed of ten 
knots has more time to get nearer the course of the approach- 
ing ship and can have more time to calculate the enemy's 
speed of approach and direct course, and thus launch his 
torpedo with more certainty of making a hit. But assume 
that this approaching slow-speed ship had no solid opaque 
portion extending over fifteen feet above the surface of the 
water, as is the case in a cargo submarine as shown in position 
No. 3 on the diagram of the earth's surface. One now sees 



Diaakam-Position Na J 


Speed 25 Knots 
a ship opthclvsrtaniatype appear) ■« amywhewe 
ontheidk of the circle of visibility as immcatk0 
mt mall akr*ws cwld ■■ ihtcnccprco andtutf-cdsko 
IP 3hi pmsko within about trtiLtS or EITHER 3101 


Position No 4 

Men chant Tramp 

Spcko 10 knots 


RjsinoM No.3 
Cargo Submarine 
5PECB ll Khotj 


Position No2 
Cargo Submarine 
Speed 10 Knots 

Position Hal 
Cargo Submarine 
Speed 10 Knots 

_S| BtUlE— 

■JoraoA S^miki— 



Position No.3 Position 

0RISW 15 FT Asm Wath BniME Sft Attvf Wit* 

ft s mow NoJI 


S«»* e 

M— '•» 

CoMPARATive Visibility or Vessels. 

When-Seen from Military Submarine 

Lyino in Wait with Periscope Extended I5rr, Above Water 

F"hom Sketches ov SinoN Lake 

I milk. J200TT. - IKnot-IOSSft 

Miutaav SusriAihm 
Lyin& in Wait for Afpaoacmimb Ytftift* 

PtBll PB RI I*" AboveVAtM 




that she would pass the waiting submarine below the horizon, 
and the intervening round of the sea's surface would prevent 
the submarine from seeing her; thus she would pass by 
unseen and in safety. 

The above series of diagrams will show the percentage 
of safety of ships of different characteristics when coming 
within the range of visibility of a submarine lying on the 
ocean highway waiting for passing ships ; the submarine is 
assumed to have a submerged speed of ten knots in each 
instance. From an analysis of these diagrams it cannot be 
denied that practically one hundred per cent, safety could 
be secured could these cargo-carrying submarines cross the 
ocean from one friendly port to another and remain invisible 
during the entire journey, but' at the present time this is 
impossible, because there is no known means of supplying 
sufficient power for long under-water voyages without draw- 
ing on the upper air in large quantities to assist combustion in 
either prime or secondary power-generating machinery. 

The diagram plainly shows that a cargo-carrying sub- 
marine running awash, with her periscope and air intakes 
only above the water line, may approach within about five 
and three-quarters miles of any waiting military submarine 
without danger of being seen, as her " wake " would be 
below the horizon. Such cargo-carrying submarines can be 
built and can cross the Atlantic Ocean in this condition at a 
speed of about ten knots, and by maintaining a sharp lookout 
would have as much chance of seeing a military submarine as 
the military submarine would have of seeing them; and by 
the application of certain tried devices which I do not feel it 
proper to disclose at this time, but which are within the 
knowledge of our government authorities, the range of visi- 



bility can, I believe, be reduced to less than one mile. This 
type of vessel can almost instantly become entirely invisible 
by submerging at the least intimation of danger. 

Such a type of vessel travelling with a freeboard of 
five feet would become visible to a submarine lying in ambush 
when she approached within eight miles. This increases the 
area of danger from one hundred and three square miles, as 
shown in diagram, position No. i, in the first instance to 
two hundred and one square miles, as per diagram corre- 
sponding to position No. 2, but in comparison with the usual 
type of surface cargo-carrying ship of the so-called tramp 
type she is comparatively safe, as she has the ability to 
submerge in less than two minutes; and it is hardly likely 
that she would be attacked without warning, for fear she 
might be a friendly military submarine. Any communica- 
tion in the way of wireless, sound, or other signals would, 
if she were a merchant ship, give her warning, and she would 
at once submerge, as her only business would be to deliver 
her cargo and not communicate with or expose herself to 
either friend or foe. When far from land she might take 
a chance and navigate entirely on the surface with a free- 
board of fifteen feet, in which condition she can make a 
speed of eleven knots, as her position No. 3, on the surface 
of the ocean. This increases the danger area to about three 
hundred and thirty square miles, as on diagram, position 
No. 3, about three times the danger area shown on position 
No. 1, but as the area to be covered by the military sub- 
marine on the high seas, far from land 1 , is also much greater, 
the real danger would be proportionately less than that with 
the lower visibility in a more thickly infested zone. 




01 re 
o • 3 

c <* < 




3° a 
■« w 

°§ a 

Q C 

3'P- M 


< o 





« * 



5 I 


High Speed. — Speed is better than no defence, but no 
one would consider building twenty-five-knot freighters. 
The cost would be far out of proportion to the service. So 
long as U-boats do not betray their presence, a fast vessel 
is almost as liable as a slower one of less freeboard or lower 
top hamper. One can never tell where the submarine may 
be lurking, and her capacity to harm is determined by her 
ability to locate her prey. There are three means available 
to her to locate her target : first, her own sight ; second, her 
sound-detecting devices ; third, by wireless directions given 
to her by others who may advise her of the vessel's position. 
Her own sight is the best and usual means for locating her 
target. The above diagrams show that the largest and fastest 
ships can be located at much greater distances than the low 
visibility ships, and that the area of visibility becomes the 
area of danger, which is practically ten times greater in an 
expensive, large, high-speed liner over that of the com- 
paratively low-cost cargo-carrying submarine. 

One should not imagine that the Germans are carrying on 
this campaign at random. It is well organized and syste- 
matic. Each vessel that comes in sight of a submarine is 
a marked vessel, and even if she is the fastest vessel afloat, 
she may speed unwittingly into a trap set for her by wireless. 
So long as she cannot disappear she has no real ability to 
elude. On the other hand, the cargo-carrying submarine of 
low speed has both these advantages : she has low visibility 
and the capability of disappearance. She may become invul- 
nerable when danger threatens. She has all of the qualities 
possessed by her enemies. She may beat them at their own 
game. Vessels of the ordinary type will suffice in no way to 
meet the great problem presented by the U-boats. The cargo 
17 257 


submarine, however, readily meets all the needs of the situa- 
tion. This is the sole method of which I am cognizant by 
means of which a submarine blockade and the destruction 
of cargo-carrying vessels can be overcome with safety and 
with certainty. I have expected the Germans would blockade 
our own ports, as it is easily possible for them to do so; 
I believe the reason they have not done so thus far is because 
of political reasons, as it would undoubtedly be to their 
advantage to have our trade after the war, which they might 
not have if they arouse our hatred any more than they 
already have. 


So engrossed have been governments, inventors, capital- 
ists, and the public in general, in the development of the 
submarine vessel for military purposes, and in the perfection 
and augmentation of its capabilities as a destructive agent, 
that they have never considered or realized that sub- 
marines and submarine appliances possess a wide range 
of utility as productive instruments in commercial and 
industrial operations. 

This concentration of energy upon the construction of 
military submarines I believe to have been a very desirable 
thing, and the success which has been attained therein, I 
am convinced, augurs propitiously for .the future well-being 
of the world. It is time now, however, to take up the 
development of the submarine for industrial purposes. The 
world stands in need, to-day, of services which the submarine 
is uniquely able to render. 

While great publicity has been given to the art of sub- 
marine navigation as applied to warfare, little or nothing 
has been published, outside of scientific journals, as to the 
productive capacity of submarine devices. It seems desir- 
able, therefore, to devote a few pages to consideration of 
the submarine in this other field of action. I myself have 
devoted the greater part of my own efforts to the construc- 
tion of military submarines. But, in the early years of my 
work as a constructor of under-water vessels I was greatly 
attracted to this branch of submarine work, and from that 



time to the present I have spent a great deal of time and 
money in developing submarine appliances to be turned to 
peaceful uses. It is my aim to go into this work quite exten- 
sively when peace is restored to the world. At present, 
however, problems of national defence are occupying the 
attention of every naval architect. 

I shall present in this chapter a few suggestions as to 
the uses to which submarine appliances may be turned as 
productive agents, and I shall speak briefly and simply as 
to the mode of operation of such devices. Many of the things 
of which I will write have actually been accomplished in ves- 
sels constructed by me. Others of which I write are now 
under process of construction. Still others are as yet vision- 
ary, but not at all impossible. Nothing of which I write do 
I believe to be impractical or improbable. The submarine 
can do many things in a new, more economical, and more 
productive way. 

One important use to which the commercial submarine 
may be turned is that of navigating under ice fields, between 
ports which are bound with ice fields during great parts of 
the year, and also for purposes of exploration and of 
scientific study. 

All navigators know the difficulty of attempting to break 
their way through the ice fields, since it requires a vessel 
of tremendous power and great weight to break down or 
through solid ice. A vessel of this type was first proposed 
by me in 1899 for exploration purposes in ice-covered 
seas. In 1903 experiments were made with the Protector 
jn order to demonstrate the practicability of navigating in 
ice-covered waters. 



Professor Nansen, in his North Polar explorations, has 
stated in his book that his average rate of progress during 
eighteen months, in attempting to reach the North Pole, 
was only three-quarters of a mile per day, and that the 
thickest ice he found during these months of endeavor was 
fourteen feet. His progress was delayed by open waters, 
slush ice, and in the winter by the intense cold which com- 
pelled him to " hibernate " for a considerable period of time. 

An under-ice submarine as illustrated, with large storage 
battery capacity, could navigate underneath the ice in perfect 
comfort and safety. The temperature surrounding the ves- 
sel, even in the most severe winter weather, would not ex- 
ceed the temperature of the water surrounding the vessel. 
The vessel illustrated is designed to make a continuous 
submerged voyage of one hundred and fifty miles on one 
charge of the storage battery. After such a run, it would 
be necessary to stop and recharge the batteries. If open 
water should be encountered, this recharging process would 
be done by bringing the vessel to the surface. If the ice 
was not too thick, then by blowing out the water ballast 
the ice would be broken, since it is very much easier to lift 
the ice and break it than it is to force it apart or downward, 
as surface vessels are compelled to do. Provision is made 
for boring a hole up through the ice so as to permit the 
drawing in of sufficient air to run the engines and to recharge 
the batteries. Provision has also been made for putting 
out small mines underneath the ice to blow an opening to 
permit the submarine to come to the surface. A telescopic 
conning tower arranged to cut its way up through ice twelve 
or fourteen feet thick is also provided to enable the boat 



to remain under the ice and still permit the crew to reach 
the surface. 

In navigating in an ice pack, the method of procedure 
would be to reduce the buoyancy of the vessel to, perhaps, 
a couple of tons, and then steam ahead, and it will be 
observed that the forward portion of the boat extends down- 
ward a considerable distance under the water, so that when 
the forward portion of the boat contacts with heavy ice 
the reserve buoyancy will not be sufficient to lift or push 
the ice out of the way, and the vessel will then be automati- 
cally pushed under the ice and run along in contact with 
the under surface of the ice. A toothed recording wheel 
would give the exact distance travelled, and, of course, the 
compass will give the direction. Progress could be made 
in perfect comfort and safety under the ice at a rate 
exceeding one hundred miles per day. 

The Protector was fitted out in 1903 for experimental 
navigation under the ice with an inverted toboggan built up 
over the conning tower. This arrangement enabled her read- 
ily to navigate under ice fields, and she successfully navigated 
under an ice field in Narragansett Bay eight inches thick. 
Ice two feet in thickness is sufficient to close navi- 
gation to the most powerful of ordinary surface ships, and 
great power is required to crush or break a lane through 
it by the specially equipped ice-breakers now used in 
northern latitudes. 

While ice is a deterrent to surface navigation, it is 
actually an aid to under-water navigation, providing the 
submarine boat is specially equipped with guide wheels or 
" runners " on top of the hull to enable her to slide or wheel 
along under the ice. 



A design of the under-ice submarine illustrated was pre- 
pared by me a number of years ago to meet the desires of 
an associate of Captain Nansen, the Arctic explorer, for a 
vessel that could be navigated either on the surface or under 
the ice. I explained the principal features and possibilities of 
a vessel of this type for under-ice navigation before the 
faculty of Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore, in 1898, 
and at one time I thought one of the prominent New York 
newspapers was going to finance the building of such a vessel 
for North Polar exploration work, but the submarine was 
then looked upon as too much of an experiment and nothing 
ever came of the negotiations. 

Some years afterward, in Christiania, Norway, I met 
and discussed the project with Captain Scott Hanson, R.N., 
who was associated with Nansen in his historical search for 
the North Pole, and he became quite enthusiastic over 
the possibilities of a submarine of this type for North 
Polar exploration. 

An under-ice submarine of the type illustrated, fitted 
with large storage-battery capacity, would be able to average 
one hundred miles per day under the ice and about two hun- 
dred and fifty miles per day in open water. Starting from 
Spitzbergen, therefore, and going over Nansen's route, if the 
same conditions were met as he describes, the round trip to 
the Pole should be made in about ten days' time and in 
perfect comfort, as, no matter how cold the weather is above 
the surface, the temperature of the water is always above 
the freezing-point below the ice. 

Later I was asked to submit to the chief engineer of one 
of the Canadian railways plans for an under-ice cargo- 
carrying submarine to enable them to transport passengers, 



mail, and freight from their mainland terminal at Van- 
couver to an open harbor on the island of Victoria. 

Cargo-carrying submarines fitted to under-run ice fields 
will shorten trade routes by opening up to navigation the 
Northwest Passage, and will also open up new ports in 
northern Europe and Asia, and provide an outlet for 
Siberian-grown wheat and other northern products 
which are not now utilized because of lack of transpor- 
tation facilities. 

Investigation of the geological formation of sea-bottoms, 
the flora and fauna of the sea, will be greatly assisted by 
bottom-creeping submarines. Fitted with powerful search- 
lights and moving-picture cameras, actual sea-bottom con- 
ditions may be reproduced up to depths of one thousand feet 
or more. The author, in 1898, succeeded in taking photo- 
graphs through the windows of the Argonaut by means of 
an ordinary kodak, and last year the Williamson brothers 
showed in moving-picture houses throughout the country 
some wonderful submarine moving pictures they had secured 
by the use of their collapsible submarine tube. 

One of the greatest pleasures in life so far denied to 
most men is to witness the constantly changing scenery of 
under-sea life in tropical waters. It has been one of the 
great desires of my life to explore the bottom of the southern 
seas. All of my submarine work has been in the more 
northern waters, covering the Chesapeake Bay, Long Island 
Sound, on the Atlantic coast north of Virginia Beach, and 
in the Baltic Sea and Gulf of Finland. The range of vision 
in any of these waters did not exceed forty feet, but that has 
been sufficient to create a zest for more. The beauties of 
under-sea life can be described only by a poet. It is impos- 



sible for me to convey to the imagination the wonderful 
beauty of some of the under-sea gardens when seen through 
the windows of a submarine automobile. Imagine, if you 
can, these under-sea gardens with masses of vegetation, 
swaying to the current and waves of the sea, of a great 
variety of form and color and with myriads of many beauti- 
ful and variously colored fishes swimming among them, with 
perhaps a background of a wonderful coral reef of fantastic 
shapes, with the octopus, or devil-fish, lurking at the mouths 
of dark caverns, and the long, gray man-eating shark, like 
a ghost now and then flitting within one's range of vision. 
Instead of the sky above you, you see a scintillating mirror 
which reflects the sun's rays as they penetrate the clear blue 
waters and strike the white sands and are reflected back to 
this under surface of the water and are then re-reflected 
back in multitudinous rainbows of color. 

Such sights await the tourist of the future who visits 
some of the southern seas, with the further privilege of 
seeing some of the old wrecks, many of which have been 
lost since the days of the Spanish galleons by striking on 
some of these same coral reefs, and whose skeletons now lie 
at their base. I have built for my own use a combination 
house-boat and exploring submarine automobile, and hope in 
the near future to explore some of the southern waters along 
the Florida coast and in the Caribbean Sea; also, later to 
build larger submarine automobiles to enable " sight-seeing " 
parties to see some of the beauties of " Davy Jones' locker." 

The Williamson brothers — Ernest and George William- 
son — have, by the use of the Williamson extensible and 
flexible collapsible tube, invented by their father, Capt. 
Charles Williamson, and fitted with an observation chamber, 



succeeded in taking some wonderful moving pictures of 
under-sea life, which have been shown throughout the world 
and have thus given pleasure to millions of people in this 
country and abroad. I am indebted to the Williamson 
brothers for the loan of some of their wonderful under-sea 
pictures taken in the vicinity of Nassau, in the West Indies, 
where the waters are particularly clear, and the under-sea 
floral gardens, noted for their beauty, have been visited by 
tourists for many years, who view them through the glass- 
bottom boats. This method discloses some of their beauty, 
but does not begin to do them full justice, as compared with 
a view from under the water in their natural perspective. 
When viewed from above it is much like judging of the 
beauties of architecture of a city from a balloon, as one can 
only get a plan view. 

The Williamson brothers commenced their experiments 
in submarine photography during the summer of 1913. 
Their first experiments proving satisfactory, the follow- 
ing year, 1914, they fitted out an expedition and visited 
the West Indies and there took several thousand feet of films 
of submarine motion pictures, showing some of the subma- 
rine gardens, divers fighting with sharks, an old wreck, etc. 
These were the first moving pictures of under-sea life that 
had ever been produced. " Still " under-water photography 
had been done by Dr. Francis Ward .in a pond on his estate 
in England and by several others, but none of these ex- 
perimenters had ever succeeded in getting the wonderful 
results such as those secured by the Williamsons in 
their 1914 expedition. 

Since 1914 the Williamsons have produced many re- 
markable submarine scenes in the film productions known as 


"' H 

<° a 

05 B 

«■ o 

P H 

a. o 

ft s 

$£ '' 

s . MM*-- ■ 



• - V^ 


. , f*. 

^J-r-r^^^ '— . 

-: ' '.'V 


-- ■■ -'■~'*~*\^ ■'/■-'*^'''f<' 




'-' ; 

§;* -■ - •! 

; ' , ' < jk| 

l#'-'' j 

• 1. . W" 1 

5&.~ ' 1 ■ / 

''■ **j " 'Irm 

4-i ^ 

t&'.- f<f 

■ \ . '-vV- 


t > . \ 

1 / 

w^' A"- 

% A- • 

1 '" 

■4 ■ '! 


" Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea," " The Sub- 
marine Eye," and other photoplays. 

As it is of historical value to record some of their experi- 
ences, I quote from Mr. Ernest Williamson's notes : 

" During the first experiments in Hampton Roads, I 
found the condition of the water to be such that objects 
could be seen clearly for a distance of about six feet, and 
the photographic results showed that the fish and other 
objects photographed clearly at about four feet through the 
water. My theory, judging from the experiments, was that 
it would be possible to photograph through the water at 
almost the distance you could see clearly with the eye, and 
if it were possible to see through the water a distance of one 
hundred feet or more, as 1 we were informed could be done 
in the West Indies, I reasoned that we could possibly get 
good photographic results at a distance of seventy-five feet. 

" The latter proved to be correct, although in the middle 
of the experimental work I was a little bit concerned about 
a published record at that time of the experiments made 
by a Dr. Francis Ward in England. This Doctor Ward 
had built a cement well in the edge of a pond in his estate, 
and through a plate-glass window in the side of this well, 
under water, he had photographed fish and water- fowl. 
The Illustrated London News devoted four or five pages to 
his photographs and technical description of his work, and 
he made a point, in drawing his conclusions, that he' believed 
that under the most favorable conditions it would be possible 
to photograph through water at a distance not exceeding 
three feet. None of his photographs showed any more than 
this, and he seemed to have technical reasons for believing 
that three feet was the limit. 



" During the extensive work we have carried on in 
the West Indies, making scenes for our various productions, 
I have been down in the operating chamber at the base of 
the Williamson tube, when the water was so clear at times 
I have seen objects at a distance of two hundred feet — 
possibly more. At such times we have made motion pictures 
showing objects clearly at a distance of one hundred and 
fifty feet. These results were obtained at a depth of thirty 
feet. I have been down sixty feet in the chamber, and, of 
course, the greater the depth the less the sunlight under water 
and naturally the photographic results are not so good, but 
with the banks of Cooper-Hewitt lamps, which I success- 
fully encased in watertight containers for the purpose of 
illuminating the under-sea, we obtained excellent results 
within a radius of the greater volume of this artificial light. 
" For exploration and scientific work the artificial lights 
are a valuable adjunct, as they make it possible to photo- 
graph at any depth and at any time; but, there being so 
many other details to be taken care of in the taking of a 
scene under water, we try to do them all in the daytime. 
With as many as five divers operating in a scene, the divers 
wearing self-contained suits with no connection with the 
surface, having the tide and wind and the photographic 
apparatus and other things to be all worked at the same 
time, it is better to be working in the daylight, when you 
can keep your eye on the sharks and take care of the divers." 
The reproduction of under-sea photographs shown in 
this book will give the reader some intimation of the " won- 
ders of the deep," but unfortunately the wonderful colors 
and the play of light and movement cannot be reproduced. 



Similarly, for scientific purposes as well as those of 
safeguarding navigation, submarines equipped for hydro- 
graphic work will prove of immense value. My work with 
submarine boats, both in the United States and foreign 
countries, has taught me that most charts are very unreliable, 
so far as their recorded depths are concerned. While they 
may be fairly accurate as to the average depths, they do not 
record many of the peaks or depressions that exist, especially 
where the water-bed is formed over a rock foundation. 
Silt and sand may fill in the depressions between peaks so 
that the average depth is fairly constant, yet here and there 
are outcropping peaks or humps that have, in many instances, 
proved fatal to shipping. 

The method of- charting our coast lines and the estuaries 
of the sea has been by the use of the sounding lead, taken 
at points a greater or less distance apart.' The depths re- 
corded at these points are plotted by the triangulation method 
of location from tripods or known structures, or objects on 
shore, and shown on the chart. These points would need to 
be taken every few feet to give an accurate topography of the 
bottom, the cost of which, in time and money, would be 
prohibitive. Assuming that our coast waters were sounded 
and depths recorded, at points only fifty feet apart in all 
directions, even such close soundings would not guarantee 
that some peak migh't not project above the bottom and prove 
disastrous to some ship. 

I remember some few years ago the battleship Missouri 
struck such a peak in New York Harbor, seriously injuring 
her bottom. Thousands of ships of equal draft had passed 
this vicinity, but none of them had happened to strike 
this particular spot and no one suspected that such a rock 



existed in this much-frequented highway. In 1900 the 
steamer Rio de Janeiro struck an unknown rock in entering 
the harbor of San Francisco, with a loss of one hundred 
and thirty-one lives and over two million dollars in property. 

In Long Island Sound we found, during a deep sub- 
mergence trial with one of our submarines, a depth of two 
hundred and fifty-six feet, whereas the chart indicated a 
depth of only - twenty-seven fathoms (one hundred and 
sixty-two feet). 

In one instance in Russia we were conducting sub- 
merged trials on the official trial course of the Russian 
Government in the Gulf of Finland, this being the course on 
which they tried their surface torpedo boats, and we were 
assured that there was not less than sixty feet of water on 
the course, yet we struck rock peaks twice on this course in 
less than thirty feet depth. The record of ships that have 
been lost, due to striking uncharted rocks and shoals, is a 
large one, and a more correct topography of the water-beds 
of our coast and inland waterways should be worked out. 
In 1899 and 1901 considerable time was spent in experi- 
mental work with the submarine boat Argonaut in locating 
sunken ships and recovering their cargoes. To find a sunken 
ship it was necessary to search the bottom thoroughly, and 
many experiments were made and success attained to such 
an extent that we could search thoroughly an under-water 
area of from ten to twenty square miles per day. It is the 
result of this experimental work that has led to the design 
of the herein-described apparatus, which will give very 
accurate contour records of the bottom within such depths 
as would prove of interest to navigators of either surface 
vessels or submarines. The advent of the submarine has 



made it more important to know where obstructions exist, 
as they require at least seventy feet depth to navigate at 
speed entirely submerged and to enable them to keep below 
the bottom of surface ships. This method of water-bed sur- 
veying consists of using two or more submarine boats of 
my bottom-navigating type, with access tubes extending to 
surface vessels. Instead of using two bottom wheels 
arranged in tandem, as is used on my military submarine, I 
use a single pair of toothed driving wheels capable of being 
swivelled and driven to propel the submarine in any desired 
direction over the bottom. The submarine vessel contains 
also a diver's compartment, so that examinations of the 
bottom may be made and a record kept of the materials 
and conditions found, which are recorded as frequently as 
may be desired directly on the contour sheet, on which the 
soundings are being automatically recorded. 

Navigators of surface vessels are interested principally 
in knowing the amount of water they have beneath their 
keel and the nature of the bottom, so that they may judge 
pf their location by soundings, especially in time of fog. 
It is not essential, therefore, to know every foot of the 
bottom, but it is essential to know that no obstructions 
exist extending nearer to the surface than their keel. It is 
also essential for submarine commanders to know that there 
are no obstructions nearer the surface than their depth 6f 
submergence, if they are running submerged at speed. It 
is possible that collisions with submerged obstructions 
may have been responsible for some of the mysterious 
submarine fatalities. 

This method of bottom investigation permits of very 
accurate contour lines being run as close together as may be 



desired for harbor work. On the coast, in depths exceeding 
fifty to seventy-five feet, if contours were run one-half mile 
apart, it would probably be satisfactory if a guaranty could 
be given that there were no obstructions over five or six feet 
in height which lay between such contours. Two vessels as 
herein described are capable of automatically recording 
parallel contours at the rate of two or three miles per hour 
and to guarantee that there are no dangerous obstructions 
lying between them. 

Referring to page 267, a surface vessel is shown with 
a well which extends from under the pilot-house and out 
under her stem. An access tube extends from this well 
forward to a small submarine vessel. The upper end of this 
access tube is pivoted to strong bearings secured in the sides 
of the well, and is further secured by tension rods extending 
from part way down the tube to bearings secured to the 
outer skin of the ship in line with the bearings in the well. 
Large bearings with stuffing boxes in the submarine boat 
end of the access tube permit of access through a door to 
an air-lock compartment, and a second door leads from the 
air-lock into the diving compartment, a sliding door in the 
bottom of the diving compartment permitting the door to be 
opened for inspection of the bottom. By donning a diving 
suit members of the crew may also leave or enter the vessel 
when on the bottom. The water is kept from entering the 
diving compartment by air compressed to the same pressure 
as the surrounding water pressure, corresponding to the 
depth of submergence, the same as is done in my military 
submarine boats. A motor, drawing its power from a 
dynamo on the surface vessel, drives through suitable gear- 
ing the tractor wheel arranged near the bow of the 



submarine. This tractor wheel may be turned by its 
vertical steering post so as to propel the vessel in any 
desired direction. 

The weight of the submarine upon the bottom is regu- 
lated by water ballast. A depth-recording device operates 
in connection with a distance-recording apparatus, so that 
an exact contour of the bottom is reproduced on a roll of 
paper, the record being made by the revolution of the tractor 
wheels. Corrections of errors are made by taking obser- 
vations from the surface vessels from known points on 
shore by the usual triangulation method. 

A drum is mounted on the submarine on which is wound 
a double wire. The upper wire is an insulated wire and 
is used to telephone between the two submarine vessels. 
The lower wire is a bare wire and is used to locate obstruc- 
tions. The two wires are secured together as shown. Suit- 
able recording devices in the interior of each vessel give the 
amount of wire unwound from its drum. A tension regu- 
lator holds a certain desired strain or pull upon the sweep 
lines, and another indicator gives the direction of lead of 
the wires during the " sweeping " operations. The surface 
vessel has a propeller in her skeg operating athwartship in 
addition to the usual stern propeller. 

The method of operation is as follows : Two vessels are 
required, which proceed to the location to be charted. In 
surface navigation the submarine, carried at the forward 
end of the access tube, is emptied of her water ballast and 
floats on the surface in front of the surface vessel, being 
pushed ahead of the latter vessel by the access tube, the 
pivoted bearings at each end of the tube giving sufficient 
18 273 


flexibility to prevent any damage to the tube because of 
strains set up by the waves. 

One of the vessels takes her station at the point of begin- 
ning the day's survey and anchors; the other vessel then 
comes sufficiently near to secure the end of the sweep line 
from the anchored ship and then moves over to her starting 
point, which might be only a few yards away or as much as a 
mile. I have found, in wreck-sweeping operations, that it 
is practical to go as much as a mile apart, depending upon 
how close together the contours are desired. These sweep 
lines of the two vessels are then joined together and the 
submarines sink to the bottom, on which they are allowed 
to rest with sufficient weight to prevent their being drifted 
out of their course. 

We will assume that their starting points are one-half 
mile apart, and that they are to run c6ntour lines due west 
from their respective starting points. The boats should 
therefore lie due north and south from each other, and the 
sweep lines should lead at right angles from each toward 
its companion boat. The dynamo is now started in the 
surface vessel to supply the motors in the submarines with 
power. The two submarines now start ahead. 

The surface vessels, by means of their athwartship pro- 
pellers, are always kept headed due west, therefore the 
course must also be due west. Each operator in the sub- 
marine keeps watch on his indicator, which records the 
amount of line paid out, and also enables him to be kept 
advised, by frequent inquiry through the telephone, of the 
amount of line his companion vessel has out. The oper- 
ators also keep each other advised of the distance their 
respective vessels have travelled and the direction of lead 



of sweep line. Thus they can always keep each other on 
lines due north and south. If now an obstruction is struck, 
such as a rock, a sunken ship, etc., the strain on the sweep 
line becomes greater than normal, and the line commences 
to run off its drum. After running a short distance the 
sweep line will begin to lead aft instead of at right angles 
to the course. The two operators then stop and advise 
each other of the lead of the line. The one whose line 
leads the greater number of degrees off from right angles 
to the course is nearest the obstruction. He now turns 
his tractor wheel in the direction of the lead and wheels 
over to the obstruction, taking in his sweep lines as fast as 
he goes. The characteristics of the obstruction are noted, 
and its position accurately located by the triangulation 
method and recorded on the chart. In practice this sweep 
line extends a few feet above the bottom so as not to pick 
up small boulders, stones, etc., and would be caught only 
on the larger submerged objects. In taking off the readings 
from the contour sheets, when plotting the depths on the 
charts, the assurance can be had that no obstructions exist 
between the surface and the depth of the sweep line, as the 
depth and contour recording gauge is located at the height 
of the sweep line. The actual contour depth would be the 
distance between the sweep line and the water-bed, which 
could be added if desired. 

As the submarine may be used for purposes of making 
navigation more safe, so also may it be used for the recovery 
of ships' cargoes and for salvaging ships which have had the 
misfortune to be sunk. 

In searching for sunken vessels two boats are used, of 
the same general type as the " hydrographic submarine." 



When a wreck is located divers go out and examine it. If it 
is concluded that she has cargo on board worth salving, her 
location is plotted on the chart and then the recovery boats 
are sent out to remove the cargo. I have done much experi- 
mental work in locating sunken wrecks and recovering their 
cargoes. In 1898, 1899, and 1900 the Argonaut and special 
wreck-finding apparatus were used in this experimental 
work. Numerous wrecks were found and a number of 
cargoes were profitably recovered, notwithstanding the 
fact that the apparatus used was crude and experimental. 
In 1 901 I was called from this line of work to take up the 
construction of submarine torpedo boats, and have been too 
busy ever since, building for the United States and foreign 
governments, to find the time and opportunity to push on 
this very interesting phase of submarine work. 

Searching for sunken vessels is, perhaps, the most inter- 
esting of all submarine work. It is like fishing. One is 
always on the qui vive for a " bite." There is hardly a loca- 
tion along our coast or in Long Island Sound that does not 
have a tradition about lost treasure ships, and every time 
one-gets a " bite " — that is, our lines get fast to some sunken 
object — excitement runs high in the expectation of some 
valuable find. In my experimental work in the vicinity 
of Bridgeport, Connecticut, we located sixteen sunken ves- 
sels, the great majority of them containing coal, which we 
recovered at a cost of about fifty cents per ton. Most of 
these vessels had been sunk a long time. Only a few of 
them were known by name, and some had evidently been 
sunk many years. One that we searched for during several 
months had a cargo of copper ore and copper matte which 



was quite valuable. We finally found her several miles away 
from where people testified they saw her disappear, 
i Somewhere off Bridgeport lies the wreck of the old 
Sound steamer Lexington. Legend has it that she has a 
fortune in her safe. Many a ship has been sunken in the 
waters about Hell Gate; search was carried on there for 
years for the old British frigate Hussar, which struck on 
Pot Rock and sank during the Revolutionary War. Tra- 
dition has it that she had four million dollars (£820,000) 
in gold on board to pay off the British troops, and that she 
carried this treasure to the bottom with her. There is a 
cargo of block tin somewhere in a sunken barge off the 
Battery, and many a ship with valuable cargoes lies along 
the coast from Newfoundland to Key West. The yearly 
loss in ships and cargoes throughout the world has always 
run into many millions of dollars, and since the war this has 
been multiplied a hundred-fold, and amounts to billions. 
The time will come when many of these ships will be found, 
and such of their cargo as is still valuable will be salvaged. 
Salving a sunken cargo is not a difficult engineering feat, 
providing the proper apparatus is at hand. It is the novelty 
of the enterprise and the mystery surrounding submarine 
work that make it so difficult to the layman. Diving, as here- 
tofore conducted, has been difficult and dangerous work, 
and only the strong could stand the hardships connected 
with it. The advent of submarine salvage vessels fitted 
with proper machinery and in the application of scientific 
methods, however, will clear away many of the hardships 
and dangers connected with salving a sunken cargo, and 
more experience and proper apparatus will prove that cer- 
tain cargoes may be removed from sunken ships in moderate 



-depth with almost as much rapidity as they can be lifted 
from the hold of a vessel alongside of a dock. Take anthra- 
cite coal, for instance. With a six-inch pump, on the old 
Argonaut, I have transferred fifteen tons of nut coal from a 
sunken barge to a sunken freight-carrying submarine in nine 
minutes. A turn of the air valve then sent the sunken 
freight boat to the surface. The coal was transferred while 
all the boats were submerged in seven fathoms of water. 
It was this kind of experimental work which has enabled 
me to devise apparatus which will undoubtedly operate 
successfully on a much larger scale, as explained in the 

The crucial feature of diving operations lies in the time 
required in decompression, which, if held within the limits 
given by Fleet Surgeon Mourilyan, would practically limit 
.diving operations to half the present depth of submergence 
and greatly increase the cost and the time demanded for such 
undertakings. Strange as it may seem, the human .body 
will stand an immense amount of compression, but the 
greatest care must be taken to make the recovery to normal 
a very slow and deliberate process. Doctors Leonard Hill 
and Greenwood, of the London Hospital Medicine College, 
have conducted a series of scientific investigations regarding 
the physical limits of a normal man to compression without 
risk of strain or ultimate injury. Remarkable as it seems, 
they have shown that it is possible to submit to a pressure 
of seven atmospheres — the equivalent of a submergence to 
a depth of two hundred and ten feet, a depth considerably 
in excess of the best diving records up to the time of their 
experiments. These gentlemen proved conclusively that im- 
munity from serious consequences could be assured, provided 



This vessel was built in 1899 and experimented with in 1900, to demonstrate the practica- 
bility of transferring cargoes from sunken vessels to submarine freight carriers. (See text.) 


Demonstrated as practical in 1900 by the combined use of the "Argonaut" and the 
demonstrating freight-carrying submarine shown above. 


the period of decompression was sufficiently long. The 
experiments were not made under water, but were made in 
an experimental air-chamber especially fitted up for them 
by one of the big English submarine engineering companies. 
Under the conditions usually prevailing in the fields 
wherein divers are employed, it is not possible, with the 
systems of working generally adopted, to provide this period 
of decompression nor to work with this studied deliberation 
when descending from or when ascending to the ordinary 
surface vessel. The suit of a diver weighs over two hundred 
pounds, and when inflated the bulk is considerable. A diver 
being lowered from a vessel is swung to and fro like a pendu- 
lum, and if there is any sea on — the open sea is never entirely 
still — the surge naturally affects the diver so that it is 
beyond human possibility to limit his descent to a nicety 
or to take the time either in going down or coming up 
that science has proved necessary to his physical well- 
being in the most generous sense. The greater the depth 
the greater the difficulties, and to reach a submergence 
of one hundred and fifty feet is now practically pro- 
hibitive except under ideal conditions. The semi-sub- 
mergible boat has, however, met the problem squarely and 
has overcome many of the difficulties heretofore deemed 
insuperable. The simplicity and the practicability of the 
working principle involved are graphically shown by the 
accompanying drawings. 

This combination consists of a tube which may be built 
of any desired length or so constructed that this may be 
increased by the insertion of additional sections. This tube 
is provided with an operating compartment or working 
chamber at the free end, and water-ballast tanks are dis- 



tributed throughout the length of the tube so that the 
structure can be placed in equilibrium with the water when 
ready for submergence. In the working chamber there are 
also water-ballast tanks by which that end of the tube can be 
sunk and caused to rest upon the bottom with any desired 
pressure or dead weight. This operating chamber has a 
hatch and door located in its bottom. This bottom door 
can be opened when needed — the whole compartment becom- 
ing then a virtual diving bell, so that divers can be sent out 
if so wished, or operations through this open passage to 
the water-bed can be pursued by means of tools and ap- 
pliances controlled from within the compartment. There is 
also an air-lock or equalizing chamber. Its purpose is to 
enable the operators to become gradually accustomed to 
change of pressure when entering or when leaving the work- 
ing chamber when the latter is being used with the bottom 
door open; the air pressure within the compartment would 
be maintained in constant accord with the water pressure 
corresponding to the particular depth at which this tube 
would be in use. The tube itself may have its upper end 
attached to the side of a surface craft, but preferably it 
floats in the well of a craft especially designed to work in 
combination with it, as shown. 

The general method of operating upon a submerged 
wreck is as follows : The vessel carrying the tube is brought 
to the place of operation ; it may be carried there either by 
towing or by its own power. The carrying vessel is moored 
over the wreck by quartering lines; anchor lines connect 
with anchors run out abeam on each side of the vessel. 
These lines are controlled from within the operating cham- 
ber, when once the anchors are planted, so that the lower 



end of the tube, when submerged, may be swung through the 
arc of a circle within the pivotal point at the buoyant end 
attached to the surface vessel. 

The operating chamber and tube are lighted electrically, 
and electricity also supplies power control within the cham- 
ber. Compressed air is led into this compartment to supply 
the chamber when operating under pressure and also to 
supply any divers sent out therefrom at such times. 

The surface vessel being properly moored, the ballast 
compartments are flooded and the working end of the appa- 
ratus allowed to settle near enough to the wreck to permit 
of inspection through the " aquascope," or the bottom door 
may be opened and divers sent out for more intimate in- 
spection, and instructions may then be telephoned to the 
surface vessel so to change her position that the working 
compartment may be located in the place most convenient to 
act as a base for carrying on the operations of recovering 
cargo, making repairs, etc., as the occasion may demand. 

The position of the operating chamber may be over the 
hatchway of a ship, or, in the case of an old and worthless 
hulk, the decks may be blown off and the working end of the 
apparatus lowered right down through and on to the cargo 
itself. Sufficient additional water ballast may now be intro- 
duced to hold the working chamber securely to the bottom, 
or it may be held fast to the hulk itself, if that course be 
preferable. It will thus be seen that communication is 
now established between the surface and the submerged ves- 
sel at the point where it is desired to carry on the operations, 
and it will be realized that this can be accomplished without 
the use of divers and in absolute safety throughout the 
range or reach of the apparatus. The operators are pro- 



tected by a strong steel tube, which now forms a, sheltered 
passageway to and from the surface under normal atmos- 
pheric pressure, and no more skill is required to go down 
within working reach of the sunken ship than that required to 
go up or down a flight of stairs. It will also be seen, by refer- 
ring to the sketch, that the operators are where they are pro- 
tected from the currents, and even quite a severe storm on the 
surface would not interfere with work below, so long as the 
surface vessel could be held to her moorings. 

The illustration shows a wrecking plant of the " Lake " 
design as it appears when operating on a sunken steamship. 
The case taken for illustration is that of a vessel that had 
been sunk for some time and where it had been considered 
advisable to blow away the decks in order to enable the oper- 
ating compartment of the tube to be lowered right down 
into the cargo hold. The ship's hold is lighted up elec- 
trically, and the work of removing the material follows. 
A light down-haul line leads from the lower block of each 
set of derrick falls, and is led through a block secured con- 
veniently to the diver's station. This line is handled by 
an electric winch in the operating compartment. Its pur- 
pose is to return the hoisting line with its sling to the divers 
after each load has been discharged upon the surface craft. 
As the divers operate only a few feet from the working 
chamber, they are protected from the surge of the surface 
boat, with its attendant pull on air-hose and life-line, and 
also from possible aggravation by currents; and, as the 
handling of all lines is done by mechanical power, work of 
recovery may be carried on in a very expeditious manner 
with a minimum of stress upon the operator. 




(The little circles represent wrecks.) 
Reproduction of a chart published by the German Hydrographic Office, giving a list 
of wrecks which have occurred in the locality pictured during a period of only fifteen years. 
This great loss of shipping was one of the principal causes leading up to the construction of 
the Kiel canal. 

- 283 


In many waters the divers would be engaged in plain 
view of their tenders in the operating compartment, who 
would handle the down-pull lines and transmit signals by 
bell or telephone to the control station on the boat above. 
Work is thus carried on continuously by relays of divers who 
are thoroughly conversant with the progress of the under- 
taking and the' circumstances affecting performance. 
Through the medium of the equalizing room the divers, 
who leave their helmets, shoes, and weights in the operating 
chamber, are able to undergo slowly and comfortably either 
decompression or compression after or before each shift. 
They can remain in the equalizing room as long as necessary 
to effect this in the way most conducive to their physical 
well-being. This compartment is well lighted, is fitted with 
seats, and provides every reasonable convenience for the 
diver during this intermediate stage. 

Statistics have been published to show that practically 
the entire commerce of the world sinks in every twenty-five 
years. In the present war the rate of sinking has been, 
of course, enormously accelerated, and millions of tons of 
ships have been sunk, with billions of dollars' worth of cargo. 
Many of these vessels were sunk in the North Sea or the 
English Channel, where the water is comparatively shallow, 
and where many of the cargoes can undoubtedly be recovered 
with the proper apparatus. The loss of ships in peace times 
is such a common occurrence that little attention is paid 
to them except when their loss is accompanied by great loss 
of life, as was the case with the Titanic, the Monroe, the 
Empress of Ireland, or the Lusitania. There are there- 
fore great opportunities for devices of this nature to 
operate profitably. 



Another use to which the submarine may be put is the 
recovery of shellfish from the sea bottom. For such work 
as this adaptations of the submarine vessel are well fitted. 

A submarine vessel of the " Lake " bottom-working type 
has been designed and is now being built for the location 
of and the recovery of shellfish on a large scale. Shellfish 
abound on both the Atlantic and Pacific coasts in great 
quantities. They are about the most delicious and nutritious 
food known to man. The most common shellfish are the 
oyster, the round or hard-shell clam, the long-neck or soft- 
shell clam, the scallop, and, on the Pacific coast, the abalone, 
which is valuable both for its mother-of-pearl shell and its 
meat, which is a great delicacy, the most of which is sent to 
Japan, either dried or canned. 

My own sea-bottom investigations, combined with the 
sea-bottom investigations of the United States Fish Com- 
mission, have led me to the conclusion that edible shellfish 
abound along our coast in such great quantities that they 
can become an important rival to our meat-growing and 
packing industries, provided the proper apparatus is used 
for their recovery. I have, when " wheeling " along the 
bottom, found beds of the round or hard-shell clam in such 
great quantities that there must have been thousands of 
bushels to the acre. This was in waters too deep to be 
recovered by the usual clammers' apparatus. It is impossible 
to dredge for the soft-shell clam, as the shell is too delicate, 
and to pull them out of their bed would crush them. The 
abalone attach themselves to rocks, and it requires con- 
siderable force to break their hold, so there is no known 
means to recover them with surface ships. 



The oyster industry is the only one that has thus far 
been developed by planting and cultivating methods, so that 
it is now a great industry, employing thousands of steam, 
internal-combustion, and sail boats in their cultivation and 
collection for the market. The method employed by the 
largest growers is by the use of power boats which drag 
dredges. These are rakes with a meshed bag dragging on 
the bottom back of the tooth bar of the dredge to collect 
the oysters after they are raked or torn up from their beds. 
This is not a scientific method, for the reason that many 
of the oysters are killed by the heavy dredge being dragged 
over them. It is largely a hit-or-miss or grab-in-the-dark 
method, as it is impossible to clean up the ground in this 
manner. Some oyster grounds will produce from three to 
four thousand bushels of oysters to the acre. When dredg- 
ing is started it is only necessary to drag the dredge a few 
feet before it is filled; then, as the oysters become thinner, 
the drag becomes longer. They drag in all directions across 
the grounds, but, as they cannot see the bottom, there are 
places .they never hit, because the wind and currents pre- 
vent a systematic covering of the ground. 

The design of a submarine oyster-dredging vessel is 
such that the vessel goes down to the bottom direct and the 
water is forced out of the centre raking compartment so that 
the oysters may be seen by the operator in the control depart- 
ment. With only a few inches of water over them, headway 
is then given to the submarine and the oysters are then auto- 
matically raked up, washed, and delivered through pipes 
into the cargo-carrying chambers, as shown. Centrifugal 
pumps are constantly delivering water from the cargo com- 
partments, which induces a flow of water through the 




By admitting water ballast into ballast tanks the vessel is allowed to sink to the bottom 
with sufficient weight to afford traction to the toothed driving wheels in the central operating 
compartment. This compartment is open at the bottom; water is prevented from entering 
it by the use of compressed air. As this apartment is well lighted the oysters may readily 
be seen Iving on the bottom the full width and length of the compartment. When the boat 
is given headway the oysters are automatically transferred into the cargo holds by means 
of a svstem of pipes and suction pumps to induce a flow of water which carries the oysters 
from the dredges. 


pipes leading from the " rake pans " with sufficient velocity 
to carry up the oysters and deposit them into the cargo 
holds. In this manner the bottom may be seen, and by 
"tracking" back and forth over the bottom the ground 
may be cleaned up at one operation. 

The author's design of vessel illustrated has a capacity of 
gathering oysters from good ground at the rate of five thou- 
sand bushels per hour. The use of the submarine will make 
the recovery of oysters more nearly like the method of 
reaping a field of grain, where one " swath " systematically 
joins on to another, and the whole field is cleaned up at 
one operation. 

In many other fields of industrial and commercial enter- 
prise the submarine is qualified to render valuable services. 
In general submarine engineering work ; in the construction 
of breakwaters, lighthouses, driving piles and building abut- 
ments, and in the deepening and improvement of waterways 
and harbors, the submarine will be utilized. In prospecting 
for, and the recovery and separation of, gold from river- 
beds and sea-coast bottoms submarine devices have been 
found to be very efficient and economical. A new method 
of laying tunnels under water has been proposed in which 
adaptations of the submarine boat will play a great part. 
However, these latter developments of the submarine are 
so highly specialized and a description of them would be 
so very technical that mere mention of these possibilities 
will be sufficient for the purposes of this book. 

Thus it is evident that the submarine has a utility entirely 
apart from that of a military weapon. Its unique qualities 
fit it for the labors of peace as well as for those of war. 
Of course, in both cases, either as a naval weapon or as 



an industrial mechanism, it is the unique capacity of submer- 
gence possessed by the submarine which makes it of value, 
and in either case it is the question of accessibility which is 
all-important. In the war use the chief function of the 
submarine is to make itself inaccessible to the foe. It is 
immune from attack because it cannot be seen. It is able 
to strike at its foe with success because its presence is not 
detected by him. It is thus able to make use of its destructive 
energy in perfect safety. On the other hand, the chief value 
of the industrial submarine lies in the fact that it constitutes 
a means of access to places otherwise inaccessible to men. 
It is very desirable and very profitable for men to go down 
into the depths of the sea. There are things well worth doing 
on the bed of the ocean. Travel may be made safe, goods 
of great value may be brought up, foodstuffs of the first 
order may be obtained there; with submarines men may 
prosecute their labors beneath the sea with very little dan- 
ger and at a minimum of cost. The diver's profession will 
become, through the use of this mechanism, an important 
factor in the economic affairs of the world. 


Studies of the submarine which deal with the subject 
solely from the engineering or military standpoint, or which 
treat of the development of this weapon simply in the light 
of its strategic value, fail to recognize the human aspects 
of the problem. 

I have stated in the Foreword that at the present time the 
submarine is a tremendous factor in the political and indus- 
trial economy of the world, and I believe that a treatment 
of the submarine which gives no consideration to it in this 
broader relationship to the life and welfare of humanity is 
altogether incomplete. In my opinion, just as the sub- 
marine is to-day a power to be reckoned with in the worlds 
an agency the prodigious capacity for destruction of which 
we realize but too well — so is it to be in the future an instru- 
ment the influence of which upon the progress and safety of 
the nations of the earth will be well-nigh incalculable. Tem- 
porarily, it presents itself as a power for evil, as the weapon, 
the bludgeon, as it were, of either a misguided people or of 
an overbearing and power-thirsty aristocracy; permanently,^ 
I believe, it will prove to be destined to work for the highest 
good of humanity, and will serve the noblest and most inti- 
mate interests of men; for, as I have asserted above, the 
submarine has by no means been brought to its fullest meas- 
ure of development. The limit of its capabilities has not 
been approached by modern ship constructors, even remotely. 
It will have a future ; it has a destiny ; it will serve mankind. 
19 289 


There have been many criticisms and attacks directed at 
the submarine and against the designers of submarines 
within the past few years. These may be classified in general 
1 into two main categories: first, those which discredit the 
j submarine on the basis of its mechanical limitations, and, 
'secondly, those which assail the submarine on moral and 
humanitarian grounds and condemn the use of the weapon as 
piratical and murderous. For people who criticise the sub- 
marine on the grounds first stated I have little sympathy; 
jthey are those " who have eyes and see not, and having 
ears, hear not." They disavow the very testimony of the 
i senses. I can, however, fully sympathize with those who 
attack the submarine on the latter basis; the events of the 
past three years may have borne this conviction upon them. 
Yet they also fail to realize that the submarine, in the end, 
j will render great benefits and service to the world. They 
I judge too much from the present and look too rarely into 
Ithe future.! By way of answering these criticisms I will be 
able to present the facts concerning the future of the sub- 
marine as they appear to me after years of thought and 
experimentation in this field. 

There are many who believe that the submarine is limited 
in its power because of the inherent nature of its operation. 
These are the people who erroneously conceive that the sub- 
marine designers in some peculiar and miraculous way 
manage to get around the laws of the universe. They think 
that the activity of the submarine is in defiance of the law 
of gravitation; that it performs unnatural feats. People 
with such views, of course, are inclined to believe that the 
submarine by now must have reached the height of its 
development, and that in any case it is an unreliable mechan- 












































K 3 

o*- - 








3*£+ CB 




o ~ 









2 o-- 


-SB ^ 

3P — 

3 m 

°*<-t» - 

rt 2 « 

r+. m » 

o f Jt 

n,rt- 3 

f p » 
■O- 3 

f*p <+ 

3*2 p 
w 5 — * 

_ o* 
"■o c 

H I 

o n O 
a w 

•r.3 a> 

I*0 « 

CTto a* 

p pB 

£*" E 



Sketch showing the submarine "Argonaut III" on the bottom and operator In diving 
compartment inspecting the waterbed through the open diver's door. 


ism. Criticism from such sources is worthy of notice solely 
because of its positive stupidity. Inventors never perform 
miracles and they never defy nature. Man can never master 
nature nor override her dictates. The inventor, rather, is one 
who comes to know the laws of nature with intimacy, and 
devises ways to turn them to his use. He works in harmony 
with nature, perhaps a little more closely than ordinary men ; 
the secret of inventors' successes lies in the fact that they are 
those who best know how to cooperate with nature. Just so 
the submarine, as we have seen, acts in response to the laws 
of gravity, hydraulics, pneumatics, and other natural sciences, 
and is in complete accordance with nature's dictates ; it has 
no limitations set by nature upon its operation. Objectors 
on these grounds are in the same class with those who 
asserted some years ago that an iron ship could not float. 

There is also a very numerous class of persons who hold 
that the submarine is a very risky and dangerous mechan- 
ism ; they feel that the principles of its operation have not 
yet been brought to a point of safety or certainty. The facts 
upon which they base this judgment are found by them in 
the accounts of the many accidents which have occurred 
to submarines in recent years. As a matter of fact, these 
accidents have been due, as a rule, to either of two causes ; 
namely, faulty construction or carelessness. There is not 
a case on record of a properly constructed, well-handled 
submarine coming to grief through any cause related to the 
principle of her operation. The principles of successfully 
navigating under the water were discovered twenty years 
ago, and have been applied with perfect safety ever since. 
Many designers since that time have failed to recognize the 
correct principles, and their incorrectly built boats have 



given trouble ; hence accidents have occurred. To-day, how- 
ever, the true principles of construction are universally recog- 
nized. The modern submarine has passed the stage of 

Another source for notions of this same sort, as to the 
unreliability of submarine navigation, is the constant repe- 
tition in the daily press that our submarines are not operating 
satisfactorily. These complaints also lead people to conclude 
that the mechanical demands of under- water navigation 
are not completely fulfilled. Now, submarine vessels may 
be constructed to-day which are a great deal more trust- 
worthy in their operation and considerably less dangerous 
to go about in than are certain well-known United States rail- 
roads. Nearly every submarine in use in the navies of the 
world at the present day is capable of functioning in perfect 
safety, so far as submergence and emergence are concerned. 
They may be operated with almost exact precision while 
located many feet beneath the surface. If given sufficient 
static stability, there is no danger that they will dive to the 
bottom or that they will not come up again. 

The cause of all these complaints about our submarines 
is traceable to a single difficulty. The reader by this time 
realizes that the difficulty is with the engines, and not with 
the principles of submarine construction. The modern 
submarine builder cannot find an engine of sufficiently light 
weight to install with safety in a submarine hull which will 
give all the speed which the government demands that his 
boat should produce. On attempting to attain speed much 
engine trouble has developed, due to experimentation and 
trial, and from this source have sprung all the criticisms of 
the operation of our vessels. There is no such natural limi- 



tation to the possible utility of the submarine as many 
people believe; the only limitation is that of speed. Our 
boats are safe, they are seaworthy, they are capable of a 
tremendous radius of action. Sooner or later a reliable 
engine will be developed which will meet the needs of mili- 
tary submarines and which will deliver power sufficient to 
give the submarine battleship speed. This is at present the 
only limitation upon submarine development, and it is not 
an insuperable obstacle. 

Those critics of the submarine who base their opinions 
upon moral and humanitarian notions are as self-deceived 
as those who disparage the mechanical success of the under- ' 
water vessel. People in this latter class, however, are not 
afflicted with a distorted vision of the truth, as are those 
of the other group, but rather, we may say, they suffer from 
nearsightedness. They do not look far enough ahead to / 
judge as to the permanent utility of the submarine. They 
base their inferences entirely upon the use which one of ( 
the belligerent powers has made of its submarines. Tit is 
true, indeed, that the activities of a great many submarine 
commanders, and the policy of f rightfulness which has been 
so consistently maintained throughout the course of the war 
by a certain group of autocrats, have temporarily put a 
moral stigma upon the submarine as a justifiable naval 
weapon. They have made it appear that the submarine can- ! 
not play a humane and legitimate part in warfare, j While ' 
I have firmly maintained, and still believe, that a submarine 
blockade is a legitimate use of this weapon in warfare, I do 
regret that many acts committed ,by the submarines of one 
of the belligerents in the present war have been little short 
of outright piracy. 



Strange to say, from the time when I first went into 
submarine work a fear has always possessed me that the 
submarine might be turned to piratical uses. I have often 
thought that some unscrupulous and adventurous group of 
men might terrorize the commerce of the world in times of 
peace by taking advantage of the invisible qualities of sub- 
marine vessels. Such a group of men with the use of such 
a weapon might make submarine attacks on peaceful mer- 
chant vessels and escape detection and capture for years. 
I did not, however, nor did any other submarine inventor, 
anticipate that any of the world's recognized governments 
would sanction piratical and barbarous actions on the part 

Iof their naval officers. In fact, it has been the aim of 
submarine inventors, from Fulton's time to the present, to 
devise a weapon that would ultimately bring war between 
maritime nations to an end. They have not had in mind 
the murderous designs which have been accredited to them 
from the very outset. It is my firm conviction that it is the 
destiny of the submarine to put an end forever to the possi- 
bility of warfare upon the high seas, and to eliminate war- 
fare between nations which have no other access to each 
other except by sea. This is the wonderful opportunity 
of the submarine, and the submarine inventor has been 
and will be a laborer in the cause of peace, and not the 
cause of war and bloodshed. 

Robert Fulton pointed out this possibility when he 
was working upon his own devices. In a letter upon the 
subject he stated: 

" All my reflections have led me to believe that this 
application of it (the use of the mines placed by submarines) 
will in a few years put a stop to maritime wars, give that 



liberty on the seas which has been long and anxiously desired 
by every good man, and secure to Americans that liberty 
which will enable citizens to apply their mental and corporeal 
faculties to useful and humane pursuits, to the improvement 
of our country, and the happiness of the whole people." 

Later on it was Josiah L. Tuck who recognized the same 
fact, and entitled the vessel of his construction The 

The reason which underlies this conviction held by sub- 
marine inventors was succinctly expressed by the late 
Mr. John P. Holland. He pointed out the fact that " sub- 
marines cannot fight submarines," the submarine inventors 
have long since grasped the significance of this fact, realiz- 
ing as they have that the submarine eventually was to drive 
the battleship from the sea. 

When the day comes that submarines are equipped with 
engines of battleship speed, and thus take away from the 
battleships the only means of defence which they now have — 
namely, the ability to run away from the submarine — the 
submarine will dominate the surface of the high seas. Sub- 
marines may be built of almost any conceivable size, and 
carry large-calibre disappearing guns and ten, fifty, or one 
hundred torpedoes. The battleship will be powerless before 
the submarine of the future; the advantage will always be 
with the submarines, as they are invisible. 

When every country with a sea-coast is equipped with a 
sufficient number of defensive submarines, even of very low 
speed, attacks by invasion of their sea-coasts will become 
impossible. In case two maritime nations go to war, the 
submarines belonging to each will effectively blockade the 
ports of the other. Commerce will come to an end, but there 



will be no invasions and no naval battles. The submarines, 
not being able to see each other, will not be able to fight. 
The worst that can happen is a deadlock, and a commercial 
deadlock of this sort will soon be ended by mutual agree- 
[ ment. The smallest of countries may fear no country, 
| however large, whose sole access to her is by way of water. 
With a few defensive submarines she may adequately pro- 
tect herself from invasion. Her shipping may be bottled up, 
but she needs to stand in no fear of invading hosts and of 
rapine by armies from across the ocean. She stands pre- 
pared, with a fleet of a few tiny submarines, to stand for her 
rights and for her liberty. 

Offensively the submarine will be of little value when 
brought to its highest point of development, for when every 
nation is fully equipped with submarines the menace of 
these vessels will keep enemy surface ships from venturing 
on the sea. There will be nothing for the submarines to 
attack except ships of their own kind, and that, of course, will 
be impossible. ^ Thus wars between maritime nations will 
come to be nothing more than a mutual check; no surface 
ships or transports will dare to move in any direction. Offen- 
sive warfare will thus end, and each nation will be playing 
a waiting game, relying upon her submarines for defence. 
This is the destiny of the submarine. This has been 
the aim and the prophecy of the pioneers in submarine de- 
velopment. There is nothing which will stand in the way 
of the accomplishment of this happy result. The success 
of the submarine in the present war has at last forced those 
in power — and among them many who bitterly opposed its 
development — to recognize the value of this weapon. Sub- 
marine designers and submarine inventors will from now on 



receive the encouragement and the attention of naval authori- 
ties throughout the world. Hence we may expect to see 
the submarine developed and improved until it has many 
times the efficiency, speed, and destructive power which is 
possessed by it to-day. We may also expect to see the 
industrial possibilities of the submarine developed to a 
high degree within a few years. Travel will be made safer, 
rich cargoes will be recovered, and the ocean will be forced 
to give up its wealth and its products to the uses of man 
in greater quantity than ever before. Thus, instead of 
following a career of murder and of piracy, the submarine 
is destined to protect the weak, to strengthen the strong, and 
to serve humanity in general as an agent for prosperity 
and for peace. 


A-8, English submarine, 47 

A-i, English submarine, 48 

Abbott, Leon, 123 

Aerial torpedoes, 240 

Aeroplanes, 234*! 

Air supply, question of, 49-51 

"Alligator," Russian submarine, 

"American Turtle," 79, 80, 149ft 
" Amphibious " submarines, 202ff 
Anchoring weights, 20, 21 
Appropriation, U. S., 1893, re- 
quirements, i6iff 
Appropriation, U. S., 1915, re- 
quirements, 175 
"Argonaut," I, 7, 10, 36, 41, 50, 
55. 58, 60, 70, 125, 177ft, 264, 
270, 276 
"Argonaut, Junior,'' 125, 127, 

Asphyxiation, 32, 70 


Baker, G. F., 121, 161, 163 

Ballast tanks, 9 

" Battle of the Kegs," 81 

Becklemechief, Capt., 65 

Berg, H. O., 137 

Blinding the submarine, 244 

Board on Submarine Defense, 

report of, 209ff, 2i5ff 
Bombs, 248 

Bonaparte, Napoleon, 81 
Bottom wheels, 216, 219 
Bourgois and Brun, 153 
Brayton engines, 94 
Bubonoff, Constructor, 65 
Buoyancy, negative, 18-19 
Buoyancy, positive, 18-19 
Buoyancy, reserve of, 9 
Bushnell, Dr. David, 79, 149 

Carbonic acid gas, engine, 10 
Cargo-carrying submarines, 25iff 
Champion, S. T., 127 
Champion, B. F., 128 
Churchill, Winston, 217 
Classes of submarine, 206 
Coast defense submarines, 197 
Compass, adjustment of, 180, 181 
Compressed air engine, 10 
" Congress, The," 87 
Conning tower (invisible), 26 
Converse, G. A., 162 
Convoy, 249 

Criticisms of submarine, 29off 
Cruiser submarines, I99ff 
" Cumberland, The," 87 

Dangers of submarining, 32ff 

Daniels, Josephus, 139 

Dawson, Sir Trevor, 174 

Day, 79 

Debrell, Cornelius, 77, 78 

Deck guns, 239 

Decompression, question of, 278 

Defensive devices, 232 

" Delphine," Russian submarine, 

65, 66 
Depth control, 17ft, 216 
Destiny of submarine, 296, 297 
Detection of surface ships, 257 
" Deutschland, The," 251 
Dickey, 91 
Diesel engines, I3ff 
Dirigibles, 234ff 
Discs, whirling, 248 
Divers, 59, 276, 277ff 
Divers' compartment, 30, siff, 

Dixon, Lieut, 39 
Doyle, A. Conan, 4 
Dunkerly, 91 
" Dzrewiecke apparatus," 192 



E-2, American submarine, 76 

" Eagle, The," 79, 80, 150 

Echo device, 241 

Edison, Thos. A., 16, 141 

Electric Boat Company, 114 

Engines, off 

Engines, difficulty with, I iff, 

"Even-keel," I73ff. «83 
Exius, Otto, 140 
Explosions, 70ft 

F-i, American submarine, 76 
F-4, American submarine, 76 
" Farf adet," French submarine, 

Fenian movement, 96, 157, 158 
"Fenian Ram," 96ft, 157, 158 
Fessenden, Prof., 27, 238 
Fisher, J. J., 56 
Fleet submarines, I99ff 
" Foca, The," 13 
Folger, Commander, 162 
" Fortuna," 63 
Freight submarine, 58 
" Fulton," American submarine, 

Fulton, Robert, 81, 151, 294, 29s 


Hale, Senator, 125 
Halstead, O. S., 155 
Hanson, Capt. Scott, 263 
Hasker r C. H., 38, 152 
Haswell, C. H., 126 
Holland, J. P., 8 4 ff, 157, 163, 29s 
Holland, J. P., Jr., 8s 
"Holland, The," American sub- 
marine, 190, 191 
Hopkinson, Francis, 81 
"Housatonic," S. S., 39 
Hull, construction of, 6, 7 
"Hunley, The," 37, 38, 152, 158 
Hydrogen, 16 

Hydrographic investigation, 269ft" 
Hydroplanes, 17, I7iff 

"Intelligent Whale, The," issff 
Internal combustion engines, 10 
International peace, influence of 

submarines, 295 
Installation of batteries, 16 
Inventors, proposed institution 

for, i46ff 
"Irish Ram." See "Fenian 


Jonson, Ben, 77 

Gadd, Capt. Alex., 44 

Garrett, G. W., 158 

Geological investigation (sub- 
marine), 264 

Goubet, M., 160 

Government aid to inventors, 

Grubb, Sir Howard, 25 

" Gustave Zede," French sub- 
marine, 162 

" Gymnote," French submarine, 

Gyroscope, 29 

Koenig, Capt. Paul, 251 
Krupps, 183, 184 

Lake, 1893 design, i69ff 
Lauboeuf, M., 2, 173, 183 
Laurenti, naval constructor, 183, 

Lees, Capt. Edgar, 174 
Legitimacy of the submarine, 294 
Limitations of the submarine, 

Lister, John, 91 
"Lutine, The," 76 




Magnetic devices, 247ft 
Malster, W. T., 131 
Maxim, Sir Hiram, 137 
"Merrimac, The," 86 
Metacentric height, 8ff 
Microphone, 198 
Mines, 80, 220 
Mine-evading submarine, 206, 


Mine-laying submarine, 208, 2i6ff 

Mirabello, Admiral, 185 

" Monitor, The," 86 

" Morse, The," French subma- 

rine, 191 


Nansen, Capt., 263 

" Narval, The," French subma- 
rine, 191 

" Nautilus, The," 81 

Nautilus Submarine Boat Co., 

Naval Consulting Board, 139, 

- I4iff 

Nets, used vs. submarines, 242ft, 

Net-evading submarines, 206, 


New Orleans submarine, 39, 152, 

New York Herald, 129, 141 
Nordenfelt, 158, 159 

" Obry " gear, 29 
Offensive devices, 232 
Officina Galileo, 24 
Omniscope, 25 
One-man submarines, 205 
Oscillator, Fessenden, 2-7, 238 

Paget, Lord, 87 
Patent attorneys, 134 
Patent laws, 187 
Patent " sharks," 134 

Payne, Lieut., 38 

"Peacemaker, The," 83, 160 

Peral, Lieut. Isaac, 160 

Periscope, 22ff, 47, 48 

Perpetual motion machine, 135, 

Piratical submarine, 294 

Pitt, William, 83 

Plante storage battery, 15 

" Plongeur, Le," French subma- 
rine, 153, 154 

" Plunger, The," i66ff, 176, i88ff 

" Pluviose, The," French subma- 
rine, 76 

Promoters, i3off 

Propelling mechanism, gtt 

"Protector, The," 43, 50, 62, 
209ff, 235, 260, 262 

" Resurgam, The," 158 
Rice, Isaac, 115, 192 
Richards, G. M., 98, 99, 102 
" Running down," danger of, 42ff 
Russian experiences, 631! 


Sampson, Admiral, 96, 124 
Salvaging, 57, 275 
" Schwarzkopf " torpedoes, 247 
Scientific American, 242 
Scott, Sir Percy, 3 
Searching for wrecks, 275, 276 
Searchlights, 240 
Shell-fishing, 28sff 
Smoke screen, 249 
Sound receivers, 27ff 
Sound detectors, 237ff, 239 
Spear, L. Y., 173 
Speed, demand for, 11-19 
Stability, 7S, 70, 150 
Storage batteries, 9, isff 
Submarine engineering, 287 
Submarine guns, 240 
Submarine supply boats, 223ff 
Submarine vs. submarine, 244 
Sueter, Murray F., 173 
Superstructure, 7, 182 



Tillian, Capt., 67 
Torpedoes, 28ff, 247 
Torpedo tubes, 28 
Triangular drag, 165 
Trinitrotoluol (T-N-T), 30 
Tuck, Josiah L., 83, 84, 160, 295 
Turret, armored, 235 


U-i, Austrian submarine, 48 
U-2, Austrian submarine, 48 
U-boats, German, 3 
Under-ice navigation, 26off 
Unsinkable ships, 248 


Waddington, 160, 161 
"Wake" of a periscope, 233 
Ward, Dr. Francis, 266, 267 
Washington, George, 150 
Weddingen, Lieut., 4 
White, Sir William, 192 
Whitehead torpedo, 2, 28, 29, 247 
Williamson Brothers, 265ft 
Williamson, Capt. Charles, 265 
Wireless, 28, 198 
Wrecking work, 57 
Wright Brothers, 137 

Verne, Jules, 1, 119 
Vickers Company, 193 
Vision, underwater, 236, 241 

Zalinski, Capt., 109 
Zig-zag course, 250